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Morgan Hill Police, California
Wednesday January 3rd, 2024 :: 03:12 p.m. PST



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                      
Date: January 03, 2024
Case: 2401020035   
Contact: Sergeant Scott Purvis (669) 253-4912
[email protected]

On the evening of December 25, 2023, members of the Morgan Hill Police Department and Morgan Hill Fire Department responded to a series of fires along the Monterey Road corridor. 
The first incident was reported at 7:16 p.m. at the Safeway gas station, located at 100 Tennant Avenue. Officers arrived on the scene and located two garbage cans on fire. They immediately activated the emergency shut-off switch and then successfully extinguished the fire. 
As officers were investigating the first fire, several callers reported a garbage can on fire at the Chevron gas station, located at 15865 Monterey Road. Fortunately, an employee extinguished the fire, preventing it from spreading to the nearby structure or the fuel holding tanks.
At approximately 8:00 p.m., Morgan Hill Police and Morgan Hill Fire responded to a third fire at the Community Cultural Center, located at 17000 Monterey Road. Morgan Hill Fire successfully extinguished the fire before causing significant damage to the structure.
At approximately 9:41 p.m., Morgan Hill Police and Morgan Hill Fire responded to the report of smoke in one of the stairwells of the Crossings apartment complex, located at 16800 Monterey Road. In this instance, the fire self-extinguished prior to arrival; however, it did cause minor damage to the structure.
Morgan Hill Police detectives teamed with Morgan Hill Fire investigators and determined that each fire was intentionally set, and the four scenes were likely connected.
On January 1, 2024, Morgan Hill Police detectives identified Juan Mendez, 29, from Morgan Hill, as the primary suspect in the arsons. Mendez was located and arrested on several felony violations of arson and booked into the Santa Clara Main Jail.  Given the close proximity between the fires and publicly traveled spaces, namely a gas station, a community center, and an apartment complex, Mendez’s criminal acts posed a clear and present danger to the safety of all Morgan Hill residents.
This investigation is ongoing, and anyone who may have information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact Detective Adrian Sapien at (669) 253-4995 or email [email protected].
Additionally, information can be given anonymously at or 1-800-222-TIPS.

Morgan Hill Police, California
16200 Vineyard Blvd
Morgan Hill, CA 95037

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 408-779-2101

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