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Friday, April 6, 2012

Tuolumne County LE Arson Suspect Captured

SONORA -- A man suspected of setting nearly a dozen Tuolumne County Sheriff's Department vehicles on fire in December was arrested Thursday in Manteca.

Samuel Henry Shockley, 32, of Sonora, was taken into custody after detectives determined DNA evidence linked him to the crime, according to Sgt. Jeff Wilson of the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Department.
He was booked into the county jail on an arson charge.

Samuel Henry Shockley,
 of Sonora,
 arrested on suspicion of arson

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“We were really happy to find out who this guy was and finally take care of this,” Wilson said. “We didn’t have any evidence pointing to anybody until we got this DNA hit.”

Three vehicles were destroyed in the fire and several others were damaged. Losses totaled more than $100,000.

Wilson said the motive may have been tied to the possible arrest of a relative. He said detectives believe Shockley acted alone.

He said that Shockley had DNA on file with the state suggests he had prior contact with law enforcement, but he could not characterize that contact.
On the morning of Dec. 1, patrol cars and sport utility vehicles were parked at the Patrol Annex Building at 14 Elm St. near downtown, Wilson said.
Wilson said a pickup that had been reported stolen from Sonora was pushed into the annex parking lot. The pickup and 10 sheriff’s vehicles were doused with gasoline and set on fire.

Sheriff's detectives with the FBI and district attorney’s office submitted evidence from the scene to the Department of Justice crime lab, Wilson said. A DNA ‘hit” was found, leading investigators to Shockley.
A warrant was issued for his arrest, and detectives tracked him to a residence in Manteca. He was arrested without incident.

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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