Police arrest two in connection to car arson

Man set car on fire at Mountain View repair shop; insurance fraud suspected motive

Investigators believe a Los Altos man set his car on fire at a Mountain View auto repair shop last month with the intent of fooling insurers.

On Jan. 24, Mountain View Police Department officers arrested 28-year-old Paul Schonhardt, along with a suspected accomplice, in connection with the fire, which destroyed three cars at Pedro's Auto Clinic, located at 1080 Terra Bella Ave.

The fire, which was first reported at 3:28 a.m. on Jan. 13, was immediately deemed suspicious according Jaime Garrett, public information officer for the Mountain View Fire Department. Parked cars "don't typically self-combust," Garrett told the Voice later that day.

Arson investigators with the fire department and police detectives worked together on the case, finding a gas can under Schonhardt's car and determining that his vehicle was the origin of the blaze, according to Sgt. Saul Jaeger, public information officer with the police department.

That led investigators to focus on Schonhardt, Jaeger said. Schonhardt had been paid money by his insurance company to pay the shop for repairs to his car, Jaeger said, but "instead of paying the shop, he commited insurance fraud by lighting the car on fire."

Police also arrested Angelina Rutlege of San Jose, Jaeger said. She did not directly particpate in the arson, but she is believed to have driven Schonhardt to and from the autoshop on the morning of the fire.

Both were booked into San Jose's Main Jail for a variety of charges, including arson and posession of controlled substances.


Like this comment
Posted by Stickler
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 7, 2014 at 4:46 am


Like this comment
Posted by Flipper
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 7, 2014 at 9:09 am


Like this comment
Posted by Friendly Frank
a resident of Whisman Station
on Feb 7, 2014 at 11:51 am

There's no story on this morning's manhunt? What the heck, MV Voice?

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 7, 2014 at 2:12 pm

Looks like a good guy: Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by MV Mama
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 8, 2014 at 1:31 am

Wow, public facebook photos with gang signs, guns, knives and drugs. Sounds like a winner.

Like this comment
Posted by O
a resident of Castro City
on Feb 8, 2014 at 9:12 pm

Hey, the absolutely vacant house fire in Palo Alto on Matadero Ave also started at 3:20am, Oct 7th 2013 on a Monday morning. Do amateur arsonists sit around all weekend, agitated and antsy, thinking about ways to start a fire? At least they caught this numb-nut.

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