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Suspect in Custody for Two Counts of Arson
Posted: 9/16/2013 12:00 AM
On Sunday, September 15, 2013, several citizens called 9-1-1 regarding two residential fires in the 4400 block of North Palomino Lane, which is outside the city limits of Casa Grande. The two fires were burning at residences which were next to each other.

When the first deputy arrived on scene, he observed two males involved in a heated verbal dispute in the roadway in front of the two residences which were on fire. One of the subjects involved was accusingDamien Soto (age 26 of Casa Grande) of starting the fire.

Sheriff Paul Babeu stated, “At this point, the deputy did not know if anybody was still inside of the residences so he told both individuals to stand by his patrol vehicle while he went and checked. After the deputy confirmed nobody was inside of the homes and the fire department arrived on scene, the deputy went to speak with the two males. When the deputy got back to his vehicle, he saw that Soto had left. The other male subject involved in the verbal dispute was still there now with two other witnesses. The two witnesses told the deputy, they asked Soto if he started the fire and he said “yeah.”

An area check for Soto was negative. The deputy took photographs of the shoe prints left between the two residences which had been on fire. Other witnesses also saw Soto walking away from the homes after the fire was started. Both residences were abandoned and no utilities were on.

Witnesses said Soto was extremely intoxicated and in fact had been also sniffing gasoline from a rag before the fires were started.

PCSO Property Crimes Detectives responded and took over the investigation. Soto was located at his sister’s residence in the 700 block of South Main Street, Coolidge. He was wearing the same shoes which had the same tread design as those left at the scene of the fire. Soto refused to answer questions when asked about the fire.

Soto was booked into the Pinal County Adult Detention Center for two counts of Arson.

Public Information Officer

Tim Gaffney

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