Police: San Mateo elevator arsonist has set fires downtown before

in Crime/Featured/Headline

San Mateo police have arrested a man suspected of intentionally setting a fire in a parking garage elevator early Tuesday.

Video surveillance cameras from inside the parking garage at 315 S. Ellsworth Ave. helped police identify and track down 21-year-old Carlos Cristerna of San Mateo, who was arrested in front of his home Wednesday morning, police said.

Firefighters were dispatched to the parking garage at 4:19 a.m. Tuesday and determined the fire started in the elevator was arson. The incident prompted increased police patrols downtown.

Video security footage from the garage shows a man wearing a hooded jacket leave the elevator as a fire blazed inside. That and other garage security footage helped police identify the suspect from a previous early-morning incident on March 21, when Cristerna and another man were arrested for setting garbage bins ablaze in a downtown San Mateo alley, police said.

Cristerna was booked on two counts of arson and a probation violation, police said.