|For Immediate Release
Case # 13NF0295
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
MAN CHARGED WITH ARSONS FOR LIGHTING FIRES TO DISTRACT RESIDENTS IN ORDER TO BURGLARIZE HOMES
*Defendant is accused of causing over $1 million in fire damage to multiple homes
SANTA ANA – A man was charged today with a series of arsons, which caused over $1 million in damage, for setting fires as a distraction in order to burglarize homes. Jose Jesus Baca Jr., 36, Santa Ana, is charged with four felony counts of first degree residential burglary, three felony counts of arson of another’s property, two felony counts of arson of an inhabited property, one felony count each of grand theft, possession for sale of a controlled substance, and receiving stolen property, with a sentencing enhancement for arson burning multiple structures. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 18 years in state prison. The People will be requesting Baca be held on $1 million bail at his arraignment today, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.
Between Dec. 18, 2012, and Jan. 20, 2013, Baca is accused of lighting fires in residential areas, primarily apartment complexes in Irvine and Fullerton, as a diversion to distract residents in order to break into their homes. After lighting fires, the defendant is accused of running through the residential areas yelling that there was a fire to encourage the residents to flee. He is accused of then entering three homes/apartments and stealing personal items from the victims including wallets and jewelry.
On Jan. 20, 2013, Baca is accused of lighting a fire in the carport of an apartment complex in Fullerton on North Associated Road. He is accused of burglarizing at least one home during this incident. Baca is accused of causing over $1 million in damage because of his arson, as the fire spread to multiple housing units.
The arsons and burglaries were investigated by the Irvine and Fullerton Police Departments. Baca was arrested Jan. 22, 2013, in a hotel room in Fullerton. At the time of his arrest, Baca is accused of being in possession of stolen property taken from his victims’ homes and over 10 grams of methamphetamine.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Chris Duff of the Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting this case.