Liquor Store Owner Paid Arsonists to Set Fires to Rival Store: Police - NBC Southern California

Liquor Store Owner Paid Arsonists to Set Fires to Rival Store: Police

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    Liquor Store Owner Hired Arsonists to Target Rival Store: Police

    An investigation into five suspected arson fires at Sunny Liquor and Market in Riverside led police to believe that a rival liquor store owner hired two men to set the fires. Hetty Chang reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016. (Published Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016)

    A Riverside liquor store owner paid two men to burn down a competing, neighboring store that has been the target of several arson fires throughout the year, police said.

    Moreno Valley resident Munir "Mark" Hawara, 49, the owner of Tyler Market on the 4700 block of Tyler Street, was arrested Wednesday after he allegedly paid two suspected arsonists -- 33-year-old Riverside resident Randy Allen Ramirez and 42-year-old Riverside resident Willis Lee Simmons -- to set fires to Sunny Liquor, which is just down the street from his store.

    Surveillance cameras at Sunny's liquor shows an arsonist dumping gas all over the front doors. In seconds, the store front bursts into flames. The fires occurred on Jan. 3, March 4, April 27 and Nov. 11 of 2016, according to the Riverside city fire and police departments.

    Sunny Rana, the owner of the competing liquor store, suspected the fires were done by someone with a "personal problem."

    "I didn't do him anything wrong," Rana said of the arrests.

    Hawara, Simmons and Ramirez face charges of arson and conspiracy and were booked into Robert Presley Detention Center.

    Tony Shin contributed to this report.

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