Restaurant owners accused of arson in fire that damaged their shops in Moorpark

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Mission Burrito and Brick Oven Pizza at the Moorpark Marketplace are seen in a Google Maps Street View image.

Mission Burrito and Brick Oven Pizza at the Moorpark Marketplace are seen in a Google Maps Street View image.

Two Moorpark business owners face arson charges in a 2018 blaze that damaged their shops and others’ at the Moorpark Marketplace, officials said Wednesday.

Mission Burrito owner Harry Kulajian, a 43-year-old Sherman Oaks man, and 44-year-old Issa Khoury of Northridge, who owns Brick Oven Pizza, were identified as suspects following a lengthy investigation, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

The flames broke out after 2 a.m. Oct. 26 in the building that houses both restaurants at the shopping plaza on Los Angeles Avenue, just off Highway 23.

Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the blaze, and the flames themselves caused minimal damage. But the damage wrought by fire sprinklers is estimated to be in excess of $100,000, investigators said.

Following a probe into the fire’s cause, prosecutors decided to charge Kulajian and Khoury with several felony counts of arson, conspiracy and insurance fraud, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities did not provide a motive behind the blaze.

Both men are scheduled to be arraigned Thursday, deputies said.

Officials did not say whether the suspects had been taken into custody, and neither man appeared in county booking records.

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