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San Mateo, CA Police Department
Wednesday November 20th, 2019 :: 05:17 p.m. PST


SMPD Arrests Suspect in Downtown Parking Garage Arson

For Immediate Release No. 20191120-062
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
SMPD Arrests Suspect in Downtown Parking Garage Arson
San Mateo Police Department officers have identified and arrested a suspect in connection with an intentionally set, early morning fire inside a downtown parking garage elevator.
San Mateo, CA – On Tuesday, November 19, 2019, at 4:19 A.M., the San Mateo Police and San Mateo Consolidated Fire Departments were dispatched to a fire in the parking garage elevator located at 315 S Ellsworth Avenue. With the help of security cameras, officers were able to identify and track down the suspect, arresting him outside of his home the following morning. The suspect was booked at county jail on several charges.
San Mateo Consolidated Fire Department deemed the fire to be arson and SMPD launched an ongoing, around the clock arson investigation. Officers increased patrols downtown and canvassed the area for additional surveillance or witnesses. Using video footage obtained from the parking garage, officers were able to identify the suspect from a previous arson incident that occurred downtown on March 21, 2019, where a press release was issued (click here).
Teams of officers were deployed, and a manhunt went underway that resulted in the arrest of Carlos Cristerna. According to officers, Cristerna was in possession of clothing, a backpack, and additional evidence used in the previous morning’s arson. He was booked at the county jail on two counts of arson and a probation violation. A special thanks to members of the San Mateo County Probation Department for collaborating with SMPD to locate and arrest Cristerna.
Law enforcement is solving more crimes thanks to the use of security cameras and license plate reader systems. The San Mateo Police Department is grateful for the strong partnerships we have with the Downtown San Mateo Association, the press, engagement on our social media platforms, and surveillance technologies. Together, we’re able to promote safety, solve crime, and make San Mateo an unfriendly place for criminals. Our officers regularly canvass for security cameras and you can help us by registering your cameras at www.cityofsanmateo.or/NEST to notify SMPD where cameras are installed in our community.  
Fire in elevator:
Suspect walking:

Carlos Cristerna, 21-year old from San Mateo
Booking Charges: Two counts of arson (451(d) PC) and probation violation (1203.2 PC)
Michael Haobsh
Public Information Officer
Community & Media Relations
San Mateo Police Department
Direct: (650) 522-7626

San Mateo, CA Police Department
200 Franklin Pkwy
San Mateo, CA 94403

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 650-522-7700

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