Vandalism Suspect Turns to Arson
PALO ALTO – The Palo Alto Police Department announced the arrest of a woman believed to have tried to burn an un-occupied RV. According to PAPD, “a witness observed her trying to set fire to an unoccupied RV, and are investigating her connection to another nearby vehicle fire that had occurred in the same area about 90 minutes earlier.”
A witness at the scene was able to tell investigators how they watched as the female suspect began to light pieces of paper on fire and then try and place the fire under the wheel of the 1985 Toyota motorhome. The RV was parked near the 700 block of El Camino Real in Palo Alto. Once the suspect fled on foot, the witness with several others put out the fire and quickly called 911 in an attempt to help apprehend the suspect before she could do more damage.
The PAPD reported that a fire had been extinguished earlier. The Palo Alto Fire Department had responded to a vehicle fire in the parking lot of Palo Alto High School at 50 Embarcadero Road. The setting of the fire was about two blocks from where she was seen trying to start a second fire.
According to the PAPD, 31-year-old Ursula Anne Zavala of East Palo Alto was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for one count of felony arson.
It was discovered during her arrest that Zavala also had two outstanding misdemeanor warrants – for vandalism out of San Jose and the other for a municipal code violation out of Santa Clara County. She was also booked on a misdemeanor probation violation. According to the PAPD, “Zavala is on probation in Santa Clara County stemming from convictions for violating a protective order and for falsely reporting a crime.”
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call our 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.