SANTA PAULA ( —   Authorities in Santa Paula have announced the arrest of an arson suspect they said also resisted arrest and fought with deputies.

On Friday, around 2:10 p.m., officers responded to the area of 12th and Santa Paula Street regarding a fire.

Upon arrival, officers found a bush and palm tree engulfed.

Witnesses said the suspect — wearing a straw hat, blue jeans and holding a sign — fled east on Santa Paula Street.

Officers said they located the suspect in a vacant dirt lot just south of Santa Paula Street near 13th Street.

The suspect, now identified as John Soto, 45 of Santa Paula, refused to comply with officers, authorities said.

As officers attempted to conduct a pat down search on the suspect in a search for possible weapons, they said he tensed up and began to resist. With the assistance of a K-9 officer, police were able to gain control of the suspect and place him in custody.

During the investigation, investigators learned that a nearby business allegedly captured the suspect starting the fire from a video surveillance system.

Soto was arrested for arson and resisting arrest. After being processed at the Santa Paula Police Department Soto was transported to Ventura County Main Jail where he is being held on no bail.

Anyone who witnessed this incident is asked to call Sgt. Cody Madison at (805) 525-4474 x 220 or at You can remain anonymous.


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