- Associated Press - Friday, January 29, 2016

Authorities say an arson case against a Mesa couple accused of setting their neighbor’s home on fire includes evidence of their own making - video from their home-surveillance system.

The neighbor’s home was set on fire Sept. 5 about 2½ hours after she had a verbal confrontation with the couple who lives next door about the couple’s dog biting the neighbor’s son while he was playing in his front yard, police said in a probable cause statement released Friday.

Video obtained by investigators through a search warrant for the couple’s home showed the couple going several times to the neighbor’s backyard gate where the fire started and carrying bundles of paper and a liquid in a ladle, police said in the statement.

The statement also said the woman was shown concealing a bottle of lighter fluid in her blouse and, after returning home with the man, making “a short dance-like movement with her right fist held at head level” while staring intently at the neighbor’s home.

Then, as the fire spread through the neighbor’s home, the man grabbed a fire extinguisher and ran with the woman to rescue, with help of bystanders, the neighbor’s dog from the home which the couple “had previously lit on fire,” the statement added.

Police obtained the search warrant after the couple refused to voluntarily surrender recordings from the video system, the statement said.

A federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives dog trained to detect fire accelerants alerted both at the place where the fire started and on couple’s hand and feet during the fire investigation, the statement also said.

Michael Dietz, 36, and Sarah Danielle Saiz, 25, were arrested Thursday on suspicion of arson.

The fire caused extensive damage to the neighbor’s home but nobody was home at the time.

Efforts to obtain comment from Saiz and Dietz were not successful. Neither had an attorney during initial court appearances. Saiz remained jailed Friday and there’s no phone listing for Dietz, who was released from jail Friday.

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