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OC arson-distraction burglary suspect arrested

Jose Jesus Baca Jr., 36, was arrested Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013, on suspicion of starting fires at Irvine apartments.

January 25, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A man caught on surveillance video starting a fire at the Axis 2300 apartment complex in Irvine earlier this month has been taken into custody.

Jose Jesus Baca Jr., 36, is suspected of starting fires at two Orange County apartment complexes as distractions while he burglarized residences.

A four-alarm fire brought more than 30 fire engines to a carport at the Camden Apartments on Associated Road in Fullerton on Jan. 20 at 8:30 p.m. Evidence pointed to arson. More than 10 apartment units were damaged.

During the fire, a female resident nearby chased a burglary suspect out of her apartment. Residents unsuccessfully attempted to detain the man. They gave authorities a detailed description of the suspect and the license plate number of his motorcycle.

A similar arson-burglary was perpetrated in Irvine on Jan. 9.

The Fullerton and Irvine police departments conducted a joint investigation to track down the suspect. Detectives located the suspect, Baca, at a hotel in Brea and arrested him on Jan. 22.

Baca was held at the Orange County Jail on charges of arson, burglary and possession of narcotics, on $1 million bond.