TULARE COUNTY, California (KSEE/KGPE) — A Tulare County man was arrested in connection to the burning of a haystack that had political signs supporting Rep. Devin Nunes and President Donald Trump, the Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.
Just before 10 p.m. on Oct. 10, deputies and Tulare County Fire personnel were called to the area of Avenue 384 and Road 80, south of Dinuba, for a report of a haystack fire.
This was the same location where a haystack was intentionally set on fire less than two weeks prior, the Sheriff’s Office said.
With help from Tulare County Fire investigators, detectives learned the haystacks were being used to display campaign signs, which is believed to be the motive for the fire.
Detectives later identified Adan Aguilar, 43, of New London as a possible suspect.
On Oct. 12, detectives were speaking with potential witnesses in Traver when Aguilar drove by. The Sheriff’s Office said Aguilar took off in his car when deputies tried to make contact with him.
After a brief pursuit, Aguilar was arrested on un-related charges and booked into custody at the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office Pre-Trial Facility.
The Tulare County District Attorney’s Office said Aguilar is charged with arson during a state of emergency, arson of property, vandalism causing more than $400 of damage, and contempt of court.
His charges are enhanced with the special allegation that the crimes were committed while on bail in two separate cases.
Aguilar is being held without bail.
The DA’s office said Aguilar currently has four additional open criminal cases of felony child abuse, violation of a court order, criminal threats, and felony evading. He’s currently on bail in the child abuse and criminal threats cases.
Aguilar possesses a 2001 prior “strike” for second-degree murder in Nevada, the DA’s Office said.
“This type of conduct will not be tolerated,” District Attorney Tim Ward said in a statement. “We are ardent supporters of free speech but as I have said before, when that speech becomes action and that action is illegal, the protections of the First Amendment are no longer sacrosanct.”
Anyone with information is urged to contact Detective Bryan De Haan or Sgt. Bryan Clower at the Sheriff’s Office at 800-808-0488, or anonymously at email@example.com or by text or voicemail at 559-725-419.