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Arrest Made in Sunnyvale Arson Case

On Jan. 20, at approximately 2:20 am, the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety (SDPS) responded to the 800 block of South Mary Avenue on a report of trash cans burning near a residence. The fire was quickly extinguished and determined to be suspicious in nature. The fire damaged a fence and a vehicle parked in the driveway. During the initial investigation, an adult male suspect was captured on security video lighting the fire. Officers canvassed the surrounding neighborhood looking for the suspect.

At approximately 4:15 am, Sunnyvale DPS received reports of numerous trash can fires (approximately 11) burning at Washington Park, located at 840 West Washington Ave. Officers searched the area surrounding the park and located Suspect John Stahl, a 38-year-old transient, near a bus stop at Mathilda Avenue and Olive. Suspect Stahl was identified as the person who had set the fires. The suspect was placed under arrest and booked into the Santa Clara County Jail for 13 counts of 451(d) PC – Arson.

Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to contact Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety Detective Scott McCulloch at (408) 730-7119 or


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