Police: Man with singed eyebrows charged after alleged arson in Clearfield

Christopher Montoya. Photo: Davis County

CLEARFIELD, Utah, March 28, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — A 39-year-old man has been booked into the Davis County Jail on suspicion of arson and reckless burning charges after a witness told police she saw the man lighting a green SUV on fire.

Christopher J. Montoya faces charges of arson, a second-degree felony, and reckless burning, a class A misdemeanor, in the March 25 incident.

A Clearfield Police officer was dispatched to the scene, 226 E. 1800 South, and was given a description of the suspect, said to be a white or Hispanic man wearing a blue plaid shirt and black jeans. At the scene, a man in a gray plaid shirt and dark brown jeans was found standing just north of the burning SUV.

“This individual was later identified as Christopher Montoya,” the probable cause statement says. “When I approached Christopher, I observed the hair on his arms and eyebrows were burnt, he also had burns on his hands.

“Christopher then informed me he was the owner of the vehicle which had caught on fire. Due to the description of the suspect and the burnt hair and hands, I placed him in custody.”

Post Miranda, Montoya told the officer “he was working on his other car when the green SUV caught on fire,” Montoya’s probable cause statement says. “He stated he was unsure of how it caught on fire. He stated he then grabbed the gas can and moved it away from the car to keep it from exploding. The gas can was found next to the rear of the vehicle.”

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A witness was also interviewed, and said she “… had seen a male wearing a plaid shirt with black jeans lighting a green SUV on fire. She stated while the vehicle was already on fire, he began pouring gasoline on the vehicle and started lighting it on fire.”

The woman said she heard the suspect cursing. When shown a photo of Montoya, “she stated (he) was the one she saw pouring gasoline on the vehicle.”

When questioned about the gas can, Montoya “… stated he had poured the gas can out onto a black truck to see how full it was because it hadn’t blown up,” the statement says.

“Christopher is believed to have committed these offenses by starting a vehicle on fire, which completely destroyed the vehicle making in inoperable, which also damaged a shed, and building near the vehicle which didn’t belong to him,” the statement says.

“The fire he had started endangered him and those in the buildings around him, as well as damaged property which didn’t belong to him,” the statement said, noting that the felony crime was committed while Montoya was on parole.

Montoya’s bail was set at $10,000.

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