Man charged with attempting to set RivCo store clerk on fire, charges have been laid

MORENO VALLEY, Calif. — A passenger accused of attempting to set fire to a Moreno Valley store employee when the man tried to stop the accused from fleeing with stolen groceries has been charged Tuesday of attempted murder and other offences.

Raul Genaro Bautista, 31, was arrested Thursday after the alleged attack in the 24500 block of Alessandro Boulevard near Indian Street.

In addition to attempted murder, Bautista is charged with robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and attempted arson.

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He is being held on $1 million bail at Robert Presley Jail and was due to appear in court for the first time on Tuesday afternoon at the Riverside Hall of Justice.

According to Sgt. Marcos Acosta of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Bautista grabbed several items from the supermarket shelves around 11:40 a.m. Thursday, piling them into a shopping cart and heading out without paying.

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A clerk witnessed the alleged theft and confronted Bautista on the way out, Acosta said.

“The suspect doused the employee with lighter fluid, retrieved a lighter and attempted to set the victim on fire,” Acosta said.

The attempt was unsuccessful and the clerk was not injured.

Acosta said the accused abandoned the cart and fled into a residential area. Patrol deputies reached the scene within minutes, deploying a K-9 team to scour the neighborhood.

The sleuth found Bautista’s trail hours later, guiding deputies to a space on Alessandro, where he was taken into custody without incident, according to the sergeant.

According to court records, the defendant has multiple prior convictions for misdemeanor domestic violence.

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