Serial Arsonist Arrested

Case# 20-003164


Chico, CA – On 6/13/20, at 9:49 p.m., the Chico Police Dispatch Center received a call of a structure fire at the US Post Office in downtown Chico. CPD Officers and Chico Fire arrived and found a trash fire on the side of the US Post Office building. It was quickly extinguished. Soon thereafter, CPD Dispatch received another call of a trash fire nearby. A witness observed a man starting several fires in the area of Walnut Street and W. 2nd Street in west Chico. Chico Fire responded to extinguish several fires and Chico Police Officers, assisted by Officers from the CSU Chico Police Department, flooded the area in an attempt to locate the arsonist. A man, identified as 40 year-old Justin Zillyette, was contacted by a CPD officer, matching the description of the Arsonist. He was positively identified as the person who had lit several fires in the area west of Walnut Street.

Earlier the same day, Chico Fire responded to the Laxson Auditorium on CSU Chico campus regarding a fire at the ticket office. Officers from the CSU Chico Police department developed information the fire was intentionally caused and had a suspect description. Their investigation determined that Zillyette was also the person who started the fire at the Laxson Aduitorium.

As a result of the assistance from alert community members and a prompt response from Chico Fire, the damage in all the fires was minimal.

Notable is that the suspect, Justin Zillyette, is an Arson registrant who has failed to register in Butte County. He was arrested for four counts of Arson and one count of failing to register as an Arson Registrant.

Location: Various locations in west Chico

Date/Time: 6/13/20, 2149 hours

Victim: Multiple; names withheld

Suspect: Justin Zillyette 40 years old, transient in Chico

Supervisor: T. Tupper S11

Watch Commander: M. Williams C9

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