According to investigators with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, a GPS tracking device that was placed on an arson suspect’s vehicle resulted in his arrest following a blaze. The man was taken into custody after investigators say that a fire started in an area within a minute of the man’s vehicle being there.
Officials stated that investigators had placed a tracking device on the man’s vehicle in August 2015. At that time, he had been suspected of starting several arson fires over the previous few weeks. The most recent blaze, which was located in the town of Lower Lake north of San Francisco, reportedly destroyed 189 homes.
Investigators reported that surveillance from videotapes had captured the man’s vehicle on several occasions in areas near where fires started. The man entered a plea of not guilty in court on Sept. 7. He is facing 18 charges of arson in relation to 16 fires, including the Lower Lake one.
Arson charges are very serious, and people who are facing such allegations might want to seek help from criminal defense attorneys. In this man’s case, an attorney might review the evidence in order to determine whether or not the police secured court approval for placing the tracking device on the man’s car prior to doing so. An attorney might also challenge the identification of the man as the car’s driver at the time of the fires. If there appear to be evidentiary problems, the attorney may then file motions to suppress the evidence with the trial court. When these motions are successful, they sometimes result in the dismissal of charges when the evidence that can be used to prosecute the defendants is ruled inadmissible.
Source: Fox News U.S., “Police reveal GPS placed California arson suspect at fire scene,” Sept. 8, 2016