Two arrested for burglary and restaurant fire, police say

Two arrested for burglary and restaurant fire, police say

SAUCIER, MS (WLOX) - Broken windows. A missing cash register. Gasoline covering everything. That's what the staff at Juan Tequila's in Saucier found when they arrived Friday morning.

Owner Juan Maldonado says he got a call around 3 a.m. Friday that his store had been broken into and set on fire. If not for a good Samaritan, it could have been worse.

"There were some customers, some good people, that saw the fire at the restaurant," said Maldonado. "They pulled in the parking lot and two guys tried to run out of the restaurant, the parking lot, and they kinda followed the car and called the sheriff's office. And they got them."

Seeing so many friends and family come together to get his business back in order meant the world to Maldonado.

"Oh man, you know, that's when you have to have faith," he said. "When good people help you, God is good."

Maldonado believes the suspects attempted to get in through the back door. When that didn't work, they broke out a window.

The two suspects were captured on the I-10 ramp at Canal road after a short police chase. Maldonado says they took the cash register, a safe, and some liquor.

Employee Jo Avalos-Raya recalls her feelings when she heard about the break in.

"Devastated," she said. "Who would want to do this? Who would want to hurt us? But it doesn't keep us down."

But she knows the family will come together.

"We have to clean the entire restaurant," she said. "We have to get all the manpower that we can. All our family, all our friends, hopefully will get behind us and help us clean everything up and we'll be back open."

Maldonado hopes to have the restaurant opened by Saturday.

26-year-old Elijah Dunomes and 22-year-old Shaw Gilbert were arrested and charged with Burglary, Arson, and Felony Evading.

Dunomes's bond is set for $150,000 and Gilbert's bond is set for $100,000. Both men are being held at the Harrison County Adult Detention Facility.

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