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Police suspect arson in separate fires in Southern Belize

Police believe that two separate buildings in southern Belize were intentionally set on fire earlier this week. Assistant Commissioner of Police, Joseph Myvett, head of the National Crimes Investigation Branch of the department says that the first fire happened on Tuesday after twelve midnight in San Jose Village, Toledo. The owner, Margarita Pop, lost her business, a bar. Investigators have reason to believe it was arson.

ACP Joseph Myvett – Head of National Crimes Investigation Branch: “Upon arrival, a thatched building was seen completely destroyed by fire. It was reported to the Police that Margarita Pup locked up and secured her building sometime around 10 PM and thereafter went to sleep in the same yard as there are three buildings in the yard. Sometime around 12:30 AM she was awakened by her son that the building which houses Margarita’s Cool Spot was on fire. As a result herself along with other neighbors tried to extinguish the fire and was able to save the adjoining building to the bar. The building does not have any electricity and at this point in time arson is being suspected. At this time we are following several leads however we do not have any named suspect as yet.”

Police say that the building had no electricity and nothing was lit inside the building. While investigators suspect arson, they say that Pop has no suspect nor can she say why anyone would want to destroy her business. Pop lost some equipment and liquor in the fire as well but the value of the establishment is not yet determined.

A second fire was reported on Wednesday. Police say officers were called after ten o’clock that morning to Maya Mopan Village where the residence of Ofelia Coc was destroyed by fire.

ACP Joseph Myvett – Head of National Crimes Investigation Branch: “Ofelia Coc reported to police that shortly after 10 AM she departed her home to an area along the riverside which is about a mile away. She was later informed that her home was on fire, during interviews with her no one was at home. She did not leave any fire or cooking inside her home which is a wooden thatch structure and that one did have electricity, as well they are suspecting arson in relation to that. Police are following several leads and may be looking for one person in connection with this incident.”

The residence was completely destroyed, and Police say Coc has her suspicions as to who may have been involved.