“I have all these police chasing me and I didn’t do anything illegal and I didn’t do anything wrong,” said an alleged arsonist as she live streamed a police pursuit on Facebook on Friday evening.
Police identified Monica Berlin as an arson suspect after she allegedly set fire to more than 1,600 bales of hay in Half Moon Bay, the last incident being on July 3. According to Mercury News, after naming her as their suspect, the cops tried to locate Berlin but could not find her until Friday, July 6. A deputy officer spotted her 2004 Volvo station wagon as it was traveling on Skyline Boulevard. The officer tried to pull her over, but Berlin refused.
The 39-year-old suspect instead decided to live stream the police pursuing her. Evading sheriff’s deputies and California Highway Patrol Officers, Berlin raced through several towns in San Mateo county before finally giving up and being arrested in Atherton.
Apparently, Berlin does not believe that she did anything wrong. In the Facebook video, which officials say can be linked to her, she doesn’t know why the cops are in pursuit of her. Sirens can be heard in the background, and it is evident that Berlin is speeding past other vehicles on the road as per the video. Although her voice is clearly audible, she only appears briefly and wears a yellow shirt and glasses.
“Oh my God, you guys. Like I was covering this criminal conspiracy with the police department, and now they’re all chasing me, and it’s so scary. Oh my God! Oh my God! They’re going to shoot me, or something crazy …”
An arsonist was caught with the help of the community, @CHP_RedwoodCity, & the fire starter herself. She set 2????causing $20k worth of damage & then had the idea to do a live stream of the pursuit! Glad no one was hurt. Visit our Facebook page for more details & the news release. pic.twitter.com/NkiZ7WtPtT— San Mateo County S.O (@SMCSheriff) July 7, 2018
Although the video does cut off, the police did not shoot her. Instead, they booked her into San Mateo County jail for two counts of arson, as well as outstanding arrest warrants from the City of San Francisco for unrelated charges.
The charges of arson stem from two fires: one occurring on June 26 and the other on July 3. The suspect allegedly set fire to approximately 900 bales of hay. Across the field from the fire was a grove of eucalyptus trees and people’s homes. It is estimated that $10,000 in damage was caused.
The July 3 fire destroyed 765 hale bays and was reported at $9,180. The damage totals nearly $20,000. Luckily, nobody was harmed during the arson incidents, according to local officials.
“The threat however, due to the weather conditions, time of night and proximity to homes was a serious concern to public safety.”