A California man is being hunted by police for reportedly setting a restaurant on fire after employees refused to give him free soda. El Forastero Mexican Food in Stockton went up in flames and suffered extensive damage that will take a lot of time and money to repair before it can open again. However, owner Sonia Dominguez refuses to let the man’s actions defeat her.
- The damage to the restaurant was extreme. The fire spread quickly throughout the premises and destroyed much of the property. “There’s ash all over. I mean you can see on the wall. You see it right there,” Dominguez told local news affiliate KOVR. Indeed, photos of the damage illustrate the stark reality of what happened there.
- Now, employees are out of work until the restaurant can open again. Dominguez admitted that her employees all have families and now will have no pay because the restaurant can’t open and will therefore have no income. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to open soon. Although they tell me it’s not going to be that easy,” she said.
- This all happened because the suspected wanted free soda. According to Dominguez, the man responsible for the fire ordered a drink and a water but when the employee refused to give him the soda for free, he became enraged. He rode away on his bicycle but before he left, he took a light out of his pocket and set the restaurant on fire.
- Police are on the hunt and asking anyone who can identify the man to come forward. “This suspect’s actions were very bold, very brazen,” said Stockton police spokesperson Joe Silva. “There was no reason for him to light that building on fire.” Silva added that finding the man may help solve other crimes, saying: “He may be responsible for other similar incidents in that area, in that neighborhood, and we don’t want him to do it again.”