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Witness statements led to alleged arsonist arrest

Posted: Saturday, Mar 23rd, 2013

Courier staff writer

ALAMOSA ó The Alamosa Police Departmentís search for an alleged burglar and arsonist ended quickly this week, thanks to a statement from the suspectís relative, and a witnessí description of a distinctive marking on the teenagerís neck.

Police arrested Matthew James Aguilar within a matter of hours after they responded to a report of a burglary in progress at the State Avenue Century Mobile Home Park.

When they arrived at the scene, they discovered that an unoccupied trailer was on fire. The police department, along with the Alamosa Fire Department and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, quickly determined the blaze was an act of arson.

During their investigation into the incident, police officers interviewed a woman who identified herself as Aguilarís relative.

The woman said she saw the 18-year-old teenager rolling an entertainment center away from the trailer; police also learned that a television set and a VCR were taken from the residence.

Officers reported that they found the items at a nearby residentís trailer. The occupant allegedly told them a man with a star tattoo on his neck sold him the items.

Based on the two witnessesí descriptions of the suspect, police contacted Aguilar later that morning. A police corporal made note of a star tattoo on the young manís neck.

Once he arrived at the police department for questioning, Aguilar allegedly waived his Miranda rights and opted to speak with the corporal.

At first, he reportedly gave them different accounts of what happened that morning. But police allege that Aguilar eventually admitted he started the blaze with a lighter, and that he took property from the trailer.

He was subsequently arrested for first-degree arson, second-degree burglary and theft, but as of press time, no formal charges had been filed against him.

Aguilar remains in custody at the Alamosa County Detention Center on a $25,000 cash or surety bond. He is scheduled to appear in Alamosa County Court on March 27.

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