Santa Maria - North County

Man accused in Orcutt church arson makes first court appearance

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - The man accused of starting a fire at a building adjacent to a church in Orcutt made his first court appearance Thursday.

19-year-old Gage Rowdy Tuttle was arrested last Friday at Winepress Church after a shed on the property caught fire.

Firefighters quickly contained the flames to an outdoor shed.

The structure had minimal damage. No one was at the church when the fire broke out.

Deputies say Tuttle started the fire and was arrested near the smoking building.

He pleaded not guilty to arson, vandalism, and hate crime charges in court Thursday.

Tuttle will be back in court on September 3.

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