Mateo Arias-Hernandez. Photo via CCPD

Police arrest man who tried to cover his tracks by setting house on fire

Cape Coral Police say they have arrested a man who set a house on fire back in May in an attempt to cover his tracks.

According to CCPD on May 22, they responded to a call on SW 33rd Terrace in reference to a burglary.

A neighbor noticed the front screen door was open, that there was a broken window in the rear, and two window screens removed.

The report said when Cape Coral Fire Department personnel went into the home, they discovered clothing and papers had been lit on fire in the master bedroom, which started a fire.  The fire appeared to have extinguished itself due to lack of oxygen or lack of an accelerant, according to CCPD. They also noticed shoe prints throughout soot on the floors as they entered the home. Officers entered to ensure that a suspect was not still in the house. They noticed that the residence appeared to have been ransacked prior to the fire being set.

The victims had been in another state about a week before this incident. A 1997 Mazda Miata convertible had been stolen from the garage, a television, DVD player and costume jewelry were also discovered stolen.

The license plate for the stolen Mazda Miata was entered into the License Plate Reader system and was recorded on downtown Cape Coral stationary cameras along SE 47th Terrace at 3 different times on May 21st.  The license plate readers did not record the vehicle again after that date.

CCPD says on June 3, the stolen Mazda Miata was located at a construction site a half mile from Mateo’s residence, by the construction foreman.  Forensic Specialists obtained several fingerprints that were recovered from the inside of the Miata which was a match to Mateo.

On June 8th, Detective Grau developed probable cause to arrest Mateo and met him at his residence where he was placed under arrest.

Arias-Hernandez was charged with Burglary of a Dwelling, Arson, Grand Theft Auto, Grand Theft, and Criminal Mischief over $1,000.

He was later transferred to Lee County Jail.

Writer:Lincoln Saunders
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