Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall has confirmed that the individual suspected of lighting six fires in Ukiah on August 12, 2020 has been arrested. According to the booking log, the suspect is named Alberto Vincent Acosta and is being charged with arson of structures, forest land, and arson during a state of emergency.
According to scanner reports, at approximately 7:30 this morning, law enforcement described identifying and detaining an individual that fit the description of the arson suspect– a Hispanic/Native American male with a ponytail–near the Highway 101 and Perkins’ intersection.
Sheriff Kendall said detectives were able to obtain surveillance footage of the suspect lighting one of the six fires and used that to search for him.
UPDATE: 8/13/2020 6:00 p.m.
Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office published the following press released in regards to the arsonist. The information has not been proven in a court of law and any individuals described should be presumed innocent until proven guilty:
Detectives from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office continued investigations into the late evening hours of 08-12-2020 in regards to the suspected arson fires.
During this time, Detectives interviewed an off-duty Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Corrections Deputy who had been driving in the area of the Talmage Bridge at the approximate time of the fires on Babcock Lane.
The Corrections Deputy noticed the presence of Alberto Acosta near the area of the fire and provided that information along with Acosta’s description to Detectives.
Detectives were able to collect footage from surveillance video systems from residences and businesses near some of the fires.
The observations of the Corrections Deputy and the video systems footage established evidence which prompted Detectives to issue a Be-On-The-Look-Out (BOLO) notification to local law enforcement agencies for Acosta’s arrest.
On 08-13-2020 at approximately 7:00 AM an officer from the Ukiah Police Department was on routine patrol in the area of Perkins Street and South Orchard Avenue when he noticed Acosta walking in the area. The officer stopped Acosta and he was subsequently released to Sheriff’s Office Detectives.
Acosta was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail on charges of 451(b) PC [Arson of inhabited structure], 451(c) PC [Arson of structure or forest land] and 454(a)(2) PC [Arson during a state of emergency]. Acosta was to be held in lieu of $1,000,000.00 bail.
Sheriff’s Office Detectives have linked Acosta to the 08-12-2020 fires that occurred at the following locations (see attached map/approximate times):
4:56 PM – South Dora Street near Fircrest Drive
4:58 PM – South Dora Street at Bourbon Lane
5:04 PM – Gobalet Lane at South State Street
5:15 PM – Plant Road near Taylor Drive
5:18 PM – End of Airport Park Boulevard
6:14 PM to 6:19 PM – Babcock Lane near Talmage Bridge (4 separate fires)
Sheriff’s Detectives are continuing to ask for the public’s assistance in obtaining security camera footage to assist in this investigation.
If any business/residence has security camera footage of the outside of their business/home depicting the person described in this press release, during the time frame of 4:50 PM to 6:57 PM on 08-12-2020, then please contact the Sheriff’s Office Tipline by calling 707-234-2100.
The areas of interest for security camera footage in Ukiah are:
Luce Avenue to South Dora Street
South Dora Street to Oak Court Road
South State Street to Gobalet Lane
Norgard Lane near the railroad tracks
Airport Park Boulevard
Babcock Lane from Talmage Road to East Gobbi Street
The Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Ukiah Police Department, California Highway Patrol, County of Mendocino Marijuana Enforcement Team and Mendocino County Major Crimes Task Force for their assistance during this investigation.
The Sheriff’s Office would also like to thank CALFIRE, Ukiah Valley Fire Authority, Hopland Fire Department, Redwood Valley Fire Department and Potter Valley Fire Department for their response and fire suppression efforts during this incident.
At this time it appears the fires caused damage to vegetation and the wooden deck of one residence.