SANTA ANA (CNS) - A 42-year-old man pleaded guilty today and was immediately sentenced to three years in prison for setting several fires along the 261 Toll Road in Irvine.
Jose Antonio Lozanomartinez admitted one count each of arson of an inhabited structure and vandalism, two counts of arson of property, and six counts of arson of a structure or forest, all felonies, as well as one misdemeanor count each of resisting arrest, vandalism and unlawful entry of a noncommercial dwelling.
The fires were allegedly set on Feb. 24, 2021, Feb. 25, 2021, and Oct. 18, 2020. The vandalism and resisting arrest happened on Oct. 2, 2020, according to court records.
Authorities were called at 6:22 p.m., Feb. 24, 2021, about a brush fire along the toll road at the Santa Ana (5) Freeway, according to Irvine police. About two hours after the Orange County Fire Authority extinguished the flames, another brush fire was reported near apartments along the toll road at Bryan Avenue.
As firefighters extinguished that blaze, Irvine police used a drone to search for fire and spotted a suspect setting another blaze along the toll road near Irvine Boulevard, police said. The drone operator helped guide police and fire investigators to where the suspect was hiding, and he was arrested without incident.
The defendant accepted a plea deal from Orange County Superior Court Judge Scott Steiner, who gave Lozanomartinez credit for 485 days in custody.