Police arrest man suspected of downtown arson

Hollister police officers arrested a man suspected of arson Wednesday evening after responding to a possible structure fire around 649 San Benito St.

Police and fire personnel responded to the area of San Benito Street and Seventh streets on a report of a possible structure fire around 7:53 p.m. Wednesday.

When personnel arrived, they located a recycling dumpster in the alley to the north of 649 San Benito St. had been set on fire. Firefighters were able to put out the fire prior to it catching onto adjacent buildings.

According to police:

A search of the downtown camera system showed the entire incident had been recorded. A male subject was captured on video entering the dumpster enclosure area and apparently urinated before lighting a cigarette. The man is observed to light an unknown item on fire and then placed the lit item into the dumpster, which caused cardboard and other paper items to ignite. The male was wearing a camouflage jacket, jeans, white shoes and a black/tan backpack.

The suspect, Anthony Ray Gonzalez, was located in the 500 block of San Benito Street by Officer Michael Paddy. Paddy recognized Gonzalez in the video from previous contacts with him.

Gonzalez was previously cited and released on Sept. 11 for slashing American flags on San Benito Street around downtown.

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