Man arrested by Visalia police for Hispanic Chamber of Commerce fire

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Visalia police made a quick arrest in the arson and burglary of a downtown building. (KFSN)

Visalia police made a quick arrest in the arson and burglary of a downtown building. On Sunday, someone set fire to the Tulare Kings Hispanic Chamber of Commerce building on Main Street, and also stole valuable items inside.

The executive director of the Tulare-Kings Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is grateful Visalia police made an arrest after their Main Street offices were burglarized and set on fire on Sunday. But he still has some questions for 24-year-old John Harrell, the man police said is responsible for $90,000 in damage.

"I'd like to know why he burned the place. What was his motive? Why did he do that? Why didn't he just take the stuff and leave us alone and we continued doing business," said Armondo Apodaca, Tulare Kings Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Police said he didn't target the chamber. They also said he also burglarized a business one street over on Wednesday. Employees of Old West Exports tell us the burglar kicked in the front door and stole three laptops and an iPhone. They also found feces in two different places inside.

"Due to some leads we found at that burglary scene, that lead us to the location of Mr. Harrell yesterday afternoon," said Sgt. Damon Maurice, Visalia Police Department.

And when they met Harrell, police found some of the property missing from the chamber and the other business. Property they said will be returned.

"We are having a difficult time trying to get everything done, and it's just even more stressful than it was before," said Apodaca.

It's a busy time for the chamber, and they can't use their building anytime soon. So Apodaca said they're looking for a temporary space to work in while they wait to move back into their Main Street location.

Harrel now faces two counts of burglary and the arson at the Chamber's property.

He's been booked into the Tulare County jail.
Related Topics:
newsarsonfirevisaliatulare countyarrestVisalia
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