Police: Witness chases down hired car arsonist in Glendale

Posted at 2:46 PM, Feb 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-14 19:52:17-05

A witness is being credited with helping catch a suspect who set a man's $36,000 on fire.

Glendale Police report that on Feb. 7 they received a call regarding a vehicle fire near 51st Avenue and Bethany Home Road. 

Police say a witness chased down and was holding the suspect who started the fire. Police found 18-year-old Juan Carlos Pina Merlos with burn marks on his hands and clothing. He also smelled of gasoline, officials said.

Merlos reportedly told police that he was hired by 19-year-old Tommy Acosta to take the car and burn it. Acosta was apparently struggling with the car payments on the $36,000 car. 

He was allegedly going to pay Merlos with part of the insurance money. Acosta also allegedly filed a fake, stolen vehicle report with police. 

They have both been charged with arson and false reporting.