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Arson Suspect Arrested in Cathedral City Mall Blaze

George Severson

Arson Suspect Arrested in Cathedral City Mall Blaze

CREATED Dec. 21, 2011

CATHEDRAL CITY -  Fire investigators say the December 6th blaze that damaged and destroyed more than a half dozen businesses in the Date Palm Plaza in the 353 block of Date Palm Drive was arson. Police arrested suspect Jesus Abel Hernandez, 48, of Cathedral City for arson and insurance fraud.

Police suspect Hernandez is responsible for the early morning fire and explosion at Carniceria La Michoacana.

Arson investigators initially ruled the nature of the fire as suspicious, and began a formal arson investigation into the matter the night of the incident. During the past two weeks, Arson Investigators have developed leads and information, which lead them to contact the suspect, identified as Jesus Abel Hernandez.

The suspect is an employee at Carniceria La Michoacana, and is also a relative of the business owner.  The suspect confessed to setting the fire in the business for purposes of insurance fraud without the knowledge of the business owner, indicating that the business was having financial troubles.