On Thursday, November 1, 2018, at approximately 12:13 pm, the Santa Cruz Police and Fire Departments responded to a structure fire located at Vapor Cleaners on 285 Water Street. Fire Inspectors determined that the fire was intentionally set and classified it as an act of arson. Detectives recovered video surveillance from several nearby locations.
The following investigation led to the identification of the arson suspect Laurentino Lopez-Gomez, a 31-year-old transient in Santa Cruz.
On Sunday, November 4, 2018, while on a routine patrol, an alert Santa Cruz Ranger observed Mr. Lopez-Gomez sitting in the area along the 200 block of River Street. Ranger Roskelly recognized the arson suspect from an SCPD wanted poster and alerted patrol officers to his location.
Officers took Laurentino Lopez-Gomez into custody without incident. During an interview, Mr. Lopez-Gomez made incriminating statements and was subsequently booked for the arson.