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Home Depot arson suspect also recognized as ‘chronic thief’

Authorities in San Jose announced the name of the suspect in the devastating Home Depot fire on April 9 in South San Jose which destroyed the building and caused over $17 million in damages and lost goods.

Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office Police arrested Dyllin Jaycruz Gogue, 27, of San Jose, Calif., on Friday, April 15, 2022 for allegedly setting the devastating five-alarm Home Depot fire and for several retails thefts across the city. (Courtesy of Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office)

According to statements of facts signed by San Jose police Detective Joel Martinez, evidence collected in “police reports, documents, interviews, and surveillance footage” points to 27-year-old Dyllin Jaycruz Gogue of San Jose as a suspect in the Home Depot fire and in several retail thefts dating back to Oct. 23, 2021. Gogue, who was recognized as a “chronic thief” by officers, was arrested Friday.    

Gogue is charged with aggravated arson, seven counts of grand theft and three counts of petty larceny, according to the office of Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen, who joined the San Jose fire chief, police chief, and representatives from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms at a Tuesday morning news conference.

Rosen said that Gogue was allegedly attempting to steal tools from the Home Depot on Blossom Hill Road at about 5:30 p.m. He started a fire in an aisle, attempted to leave with a cartful of tools and fled in a vehicle. Rosen said Gogue then allegedly continued his attempted theft spree at a Macy’s.

San Jose Fire Department Smoldering remains of a Home Depot on the 900 block of Blossom Hill Road in San Jose, Calif., after a five-alarm fire set on April 9, 2022 destroyed the building and threatened the nearby community. (Courtesy of San Jose Fire Department)

San Jose Fire Chief Robert Sapien Jr. speculated that the fire spread so quickly because it was set in an area of the store with many combustible materials.

Authorities expressed gratitude that no one was hurt or killed in the blaze that could be seen from a space satellite. The five-alarm fire caused nearby residents to shelter-in-place due to the heavy plumes of smoke.

Gogue was arrested on Friday and is facing a maximum sentence of 14 years to life, Rosen said.

Nik Wojcik of SFBay contributed to this report.

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