Following an investigation into a set of at least four fires this year at a Riverside liquor store, authorities have arrested three men, including one who owns a competing liquor store across the street, police said.
At least four fires that officials believe were arson incidents have occurred this year at Sunny Liquor and Market at 4810 Tyler St., on Jan. 3, March 4, April 27 and most recently Nov. 11, according to a statement from the Riverside Police Department. Store owner Jalid Singh Rana previously told KTLA there have been five since the attacks began 10 months ago, costing him thousands of dollars in repairs.
The incidents were captured on the store’s surveillance cameras, police said, showing the suspects throwing Molotov cocktails at the building, then pouring a flammable substance on the structure and lighting it on fire.
After investigating the incidents, authorities detained 42-year-old Riverside resident Willis Lee Simmons on Tuesday and 49-year-old Moreno Valley resident Munir “Mark” Hawara on Wednesday, according to the statement. A third suspect, 33-year-old Riverside resident Randy Allen Ramirez, was already in policy custody in an unrelated case but was re-arrested on Wednesday, police said.
All three were booked on charges that include arson and conspiracy, officers said.
Hawara owns and runs a convenience store named Tyler Market at 4773 Tyler St., across the road from the victim’s store, police said. Officials believe he paid Simmons and Ramirez to burn down his neighboring, competing store.
The Riverside police’s vice unit and California Department Alcohol Beverage Control conducted a separate inspection Tyler Market and are expected to announce possible business sanctions.