STOCKTON, Calif. (KOVR) – A Mexican restaurant in California was set on fire Thursday morning.
“There’s ash all over,” Sonia Dominguez, the owner of El Forastero Mexican Food, said.
Her employees are out of work.
“I have a lot of families that now won’t get their pay,” she said.
And her family is now without their restaurant.
“It’s our income,” Dominguez said. “We had to do a lot of sacrifices to open our business.”
The fire damage is extensive and all because, according to police, a man wanted a soda but didn’t want to pay for it.
The man had ridden his bike to the drive-thru and ordered a water, wanting a free soda instead.
“So, the employee did not give the man a soda and the man then rode off on his bicycle,” Joe Silva with the Stockton Police Department said.
Silva said the man used a lighter to set a fire before leaving.
“This suspect’s actions were very bold, very brazen,” Silva said. “There was no reason for him to light that building on fire.”
The suspect’s face was captured surveillance photos, but he got away and police say they need help finding him.
“He may be responsible for other similar incidents in that area in that neighborhood and we don’t want him to do it again,” Silva said.
The cleanup will be tough for Dominguez and her family.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to open soon although they tell me it’s not going to be that easy,” she said.
She said if they can get through the last year, they can get through anything.