2nd suspect arrested in connection to Morgan Hill, Gilroy arsons

Morgan Hill police detectives said Tuesday that they arrested a second suspect in connection with a series of arsons in Morgan Hill and Gilroy.

The arrest came during a time when many residents worried that this week's warming weather, coupled with high fire danger, could lead to more damage or even loss of life.

"Anytime we’re dealing with the hot weather with fire in this area, it’s important that we’re diligent as a community to make sure we prevent fires," said Capt. Mario Ramirez of the Morgan Hill Police Dept.

Police investigators said tips from two city residents led to the arrest on the north end of town.

Investigators initially tried to arrest the suspect Monday night, but he escaped. An hours-long search culminated with a second call from a second neighbor.

"The community members noticed an individual walking around their neighborhood that was suspicious. They contacted us, and we were able to make contact with him this morning and place him into custody," Capt. Ramirez said. 

Detectives said the unidentified suspect is the second person wanted for at least 10 acts of arson in Gilroy and Morgan Hill dating back to at least last week. Trailers, building walls, dumpsters and fences had been set ablaze, leading to concerns that the crimes could spark a brush fire.

Gilroy police, on Jul. 7, arrested 26-year-old Chase Harlow in connection with the crimes there. But a second person was seen in surveillance videos at some of the crime scenes, which led investigators to conclude another person was involved.

"Our investigators are interviewing him along with the Gilroy police, our fire department and Cal Fire," Ramirez said.

Officials said the second suspect is charged with committing multiple car burglaries and arsons in Morgan Hill, and arsons in Gilroy. He will be transported to the main Santa Clara County jail on Tuesday night.

Jesse Gary is a reporter based in the station's South Bay bureau. Follow him on Twitter @JesseKTVU and on Instagram @jessegontv.


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