Suspected arsonist arrested in Atherton after chase she streamed on Facebook

By the Daily Post staff

A woman suspected of setting two fires in Half Moon Bay has been arrested in Atherton following a police chase she live streamed on Facebook.

Monica Louise Berlin, 39, of El Granada, was arrested Friday (July 6) in the 300 block of Fletcher Drive in Atherton, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office.

On the video she said police were chasing her because she was “covering this criminal conspiracy.” She indicated she was scared of the police that she could see in her rear view mirror. The video, which is about a minute long, was removed from her Facebook page at 8:15 p.m. Sunday (July 8).

The case began on June 26 at 9:22 p.m., when a fire was reported in a field on the southwest corner of Highway 1 and Seymour Ave. in Half Moon Bay. Somebody had torched approximately 900 hay bales worth $10,800, which were across the street from a grove of eucalyptus trees and homes, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

On Tuesday (July 3), another fire was discovered in the same field, this time damaging 765 bales worth $9,180, according to the sheriff.

Investigations by Cal-Fire and the sheriff determined that Berlin was the suspect in the fires, but officers were unable to find her on Tuesday.

Her description and vehicle information were disseminated to law enforcement throughout San Mateo County. On Friday at 6:51 p.m., a deputy at Skyline Boulevard and Highway 92 spotted her grey 2004 Volvo station wagon driving south of Skyline and attempted to pull her over, according to the sheriff.

She didn’t stop and drove south onto Canada Road and eventually onto southbound I-280, the sheriff said. CHP units joined the pursuit as she turned off 280 and onto Woodside Road, then turned right onto Alameda de las Pulgas.

The pursuit ended with Berlin yielding to CHP officers in the 300 block of Fletcher Drive, where she was arrested and taken into custody by sheriff’s officers, according to the sheriff.

She was booked into the San Mateo County Jail on two counts of arson as well as outstanding arrest warrants from San Francisco on unrelated charges.


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