SAN FRANCISCO – A woman suspected of arson livestreamed on social media as police chased her on a Northern California highway before her arrest, a San Mateo County Sheriff’s spokeswoman said Monday.
Monica Louise Berlin, 39, led police on a 20-minute chase Friday on Interstate 280 and livestreamed the event on Facebook before she finally gave up and was arrested in Atherton on two charges of arson, spokeswoman Rosemerry Blankswade said.
The video has since been removed from Facebook. But in a clip posted on KTVU -TV of Oakland, a distressed Berlin can be seen speeding in a 35-mph zone.
“Oh my god, this is so scary,” Berlin says as police sirens ring in the background. “I have all these police chasing me and I didn’t do anything illegal and I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Berlin is suspected of starting two fires on June 26 and July 3 at a farm in Half Moon Bay, 30 miles (50 kilometers) south of San Francisco. The blazes destroyed 1,600 bales of hay valued at $20,000. Berlin was booked on the arson charges, reckless driving and fleeing police, as well as outstanding warrants including stalking.
Mike Alifano, who lives across the street from where the fires took place, said he saw Berlin recording the first fire on June 26. He recognized her from video surveillance cameras at his home. He said Berlin previously filed missing person reports when he and his family were out of town. Alifano did not respond to telephone and email messages from The Associated Press on Monday.
“I think this was a cry for attention,” Alifano told KTVU.
Berlin is expected to be arraigned on the charges Tuesday in San Mateo County. It could not be determined if she had an attorney.