Los Angeles/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on April 28, 2024
New Mexico Man Charged with Arson in Yucaipa Church and Business FiresSource: Facebook/Yucaipa Police Department

A blaze of trouble has landed a New Mexico man behind bars after investigators linked him to arson attacks on a church and a business in Yucaipa, California. Officials report Jonathan Nava, 37, was collared following two suspicious fires that required the sleuthing of multiple agencies including ATF, CAL FIRE, and San Bernardino County lawmen.

April 24 was when the calamity kicked off with a call to deputies about a fire on Avenue H and Harmony Lane, where a man was seen tossing a gasoline can at a church, igniting the premises. Though the flames were doused before the brigade's arrival, the leftover signs pointed to a deliberate act, prompting to quickly kick off an investigation. According to information obtained by the San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department, Nava's ill-fated adventures continued when his gray pickup was spotted after apparently ramming into a chain link fence on Yucaipa Boulevard later that day. As deputies converged, the truck's cabin was inexplicably alight, and Nava made a fiery exit before being nabbed by law enforcement.

The subsequent sniffing around by the fire marshal's accelerant-detecting K-9 and detectives peeled back the layers of this incendiary onion, revealing physical and video evidence that matched our suspect's vehicle to both crime scenes. A silver/gray early '90s Toyota pickup was the common thread that led to Nava's undoing. Recovered evidence and a description of the suspect's vehicle from the first arson investigation were laid bare in a statement released by the local sheriff's department.

Nava was treated for leg injuries before being carted off to West Valley Detention Center with his bail set at a scorching $90k. The accused now faces the heat for his actions as the investigation continues to burn through its course. Further details and a plea to the public for more information were made available by Deputy Castaneda of the Yucaipa Station and CAL FIRE Investigator Schroeder. Those looking to share anonymous tips are being directed to the We-Tip Hotline.

Jonathan Nava, the accused, remains held on charges of arson, as authorities keep digging through the ashes of this case to uncover more. As details still smolder, anyone with knowledge of the events are urged to come forward, ring up the authorities, or drop a dime anonymously.