A reward of up to $10,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for arson fires that destroyed six homes under construction in southeast Manteca.
The fires involved two homes that burned on June 24 and four homes torched on July 4 in the new neighborhood south of Woodward Avenue, west of the extension of Atherton Drive now being built and generally east of Pillsbury Road.
The award included $5,000 from Atherton Homes and another $5,000 that CEO Jon Beckman of the Greater Valley Building Industry Association was able to obtain through the 120 plus member group.
The plea for the public’s help and the reward was made on a video produced Tuesday and released to the media as well as posted to the city’s website.
Those with information are asked to contact Manteca Police Detective Garret Morrison at 456-8101.
The effort to put together the reward and make a public appeal for help was the result of efforts by Manteca Councilwoman Debby Moorhead.
Moorhead noted she was prompted not just out of concerns expressed by her neighbors that have indicated they fear more fires — the councilwoman lives in the neighborhood just to the southwest of where fires occurred — but overall public safety for the community.
Moorhead along with Greater Valley Building Industry Association CEO Jon Beckman, Police Chief Jodie Estarziau and Fire Chief Kyle Shipherd appeared in the video.
The police chief also asked residents in the general area even as far to the west of Pillsbury Road to check their surveillance camera footage from the time frame June 24 from midnight to 6 a.m. and July 4 from 2 a.m. to 6 p.m. to see if they note suspicious vehicles or people.
“We need the public’s help,” Estarziau said.
Detectives have already canvassed dozens upon dozens of homes in the area to determine if they had surveillance footage and were willing to allow police to examine it.
The police chief noted residents can voluntarily list the fact they have surveillance cameras with the police department via the city’s website. That way if a crime is committed in a neighborhood, the police can quickly contact those that had surveillance cameras and are willing to share the footage in a bid to catch culprits.
The police chief noted it saves a lot of time. She added that the sooner officers can gather evidence the more likely they will be able to make arrests in cases.
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