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Sierra Madre Pair Accused of Setting Fires to Collect Insurance Money

Michael and Suanne Ellis are facing charges of felony arson and insurance fraud.

A Sierra Madre couple was arrested Tuesday for allegedly setting their home on fire twice in 2011 to fraudulently collect money from their insurance company for the damages. 

Michael and Suanne Ellis, both 42, were arrested on Tuesday, Nov. 20 after members of the Sierra Madre police and fire departments completed an investigation that began after two suspicious fires occurred at the pair's residence in the 200 block of West Mariposa Avenue in Oct. 2011. 

“The teamwork of both Police and Fire Department investigators led to the identification of property owners Michael and Suanne Ellis, who started the fires on their own property and then collected money from their insurance company for the damages," Sierra Madre Police Chief Giannone said.

Giannone lauded Sgt. Joe Ortiz, Det. Lorena Gonzales and Fire Capt. Rich Snyder for their hard work in what was described as a tedious year-long investigation.

“They presented a very strong case to the District Attorney’s Office who ultimately filed two felony counts each on the Ellis’.”

The couple, who was taken into custody at their home without incident, was booked at the Pasadena Jail. Both remain in custody in lieu of $50,000 bail each. 

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