BRAWLEY, California –Brawley Police Chief Mark Gilmore reports that a 20 year old, Fernando Garcia, has been apprehended as a suspect for the recent spat of arson fires.
On Wednesday, April 24, 2013, the Brawley Police, and Fire Departments responded to a series of seven (7) suspicious trash and trash bin fires, all occurring between 1:55 pm and 8:00 pm.
The first series of three (3) fires occurred between approximately 1:55 pm and 2:05 pm. The fires were located in the south alley of the 100 block of B Street, in the south alley of the 900 block of J Street, and in the south alley of the 200 block of C Street.
The next series of four (4) fires occurred between approximately 7:20 pm and 8:00 pm. The fires took place on the 600 block of North 7th Street, the south alley of the 500 block of Main Street, the north alley of the 500 block of Main Street, and in the south alley of the 900 block of J Street.
Brawley Fire Department personnel were successful in rapidly extinguishing each fire. During the course of the investigation of the second series of fires, video evidence was located that provided investigators with a photograph of the alleged arsonist; however, Brawley Police personnel were not able to immediately identify or locate the suspect.
On Thursday, April 25, 2013, at approximately 6:56 pm, Brawley Police Officer D. Santiago observed a person matching the description of the arson suspect riding a bicycle in the 1500 block of I Street. Officer Santiago detained the cyclist, who was identified as 20-year-old Brawley resident, Fernando Garcia.
Moments after Officer Santiago contacted Mr. Garcia, a fire located in the alley of the 1300 block of J Street was reported to Brawley Police and Fire Departments.
Fernando Garcia was positively identified as the alleged arsonist depicted in the photograph Detectives retrieved on Wednesday, and was placed under arrest.
Mr. Garcia was booked into the Imperial County Jail for the crime of arson.
The Brawley Police Department is continuing its investigation into all of the recent fires to include trying to determine if a connection exists between Fernando Garcia and the four (4) juvenile arson suspects arrested last week.
Anyone with information that may assist our investigation is encouraged to contact the Brawley Police Department Investigations Division at 760-351-7777.