A woman that police say burned 1,665 bales in Half Moon Bay, California, claimed she did it to thwart both a "zombie apocalypse" and a "cult massacre," police say.
Monica Louise Berlin, 39, of El Granada, is accused of setting two fires that caused more than $20,000 in damage in Half Moon Bay, California. She was arrested on Friday after a 20-mile police chase, according to the Sacramento Bee. Part of that chase was live-streamed on Facebook, by Berlin.
Police are accusing Berlin of burning 900 bales of hay on June 26 and then another lighting another 865 bales ablaze in the very same field on July 3, San Mateo County sheriff’s deputies told KTVU in San Francisco. In total, the burned bales are estimated to have been worth $19,980.
Berlin allegedly told firefighters “this was about the zombie apocalypse,” according to the Mercury News, which obtained court documents.” During the second fire, a neighbor claimed Berlin told her that she burned them to “prevent a cult from committing a massacre.”
Once police identified Berlin as a suspect, a San Mateo County deputy spotted her 2004 Volvo station wagon on Friday evening. They tried to pull her over, but she kept on driving. She also took the time to live stream the pursuit.
“Oh my god, this is so scary,” Berlin said in the video, which was less than a minute, according to Mercury News. “I have all these police chasing me and I didn’t do anything illegal and I didn’t do anything wrong. [...] Like I was covering this criminal conspiracy with the police department, and now they’re all chasing me, and it’s so scary. Oh my God! Oh my God! They’re going to shoot me, or something crazy.”
The video has since been taken down.
Berlin has been charged with two counts of arson, in addition to outstanding arrest warrants for unrelated charges. She pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to arson and evading arrest. Her bail has been set at $100,000 and she’s due back in court on July 19.
Three years ago, Berlin tried to sue San Mateo County supervisors and Foster City police for assault, libel and slander. That civil suit was later dismissed, reported the Half Moon Bay Review.
Berlin’s mother told that outlet that Berlin has been struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and a delusional disorder for the past four years, which all began with a custody battle over her son whom Berlin does not have custody of.
“This started her odd behaviors, fixed delusions and conspiracy theories involving tech companies and the government,” Leslie Berlin told the Half Moon Bay Review on Tuesday.
[Photos: Santa Monica County Sheriff's Department]