Felony charges were filed Wednesday against a teenager accused of breaking into a Denny’s Restaurant in Mecca, where he allegedly stole items and vandalized the place before setting it ablaze.
Juan Julian Serrano, 19, who authorities said is a transient of the Mecca area, was arrested Sunday morning in Thermal in connection with the alleged crimes reported at the Denny’s at 90470 66th Ave. in Mecca on June 30.
Serrano’s charges include arson, burglary and vandalism in excess of $5,000. He also faces another felony arson count in connection with a dumpster fire he allegedly started on June 29 at the same Denny’s location, according to John Hall, a spokesman for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.
Serrano remained jailed at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning in lieu of $50,000 bail, and is scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday.
According to Riverside County Sheriff’s Lt. Mike Bianco, deputies responded about 11 p.m. on June 30 to an alarm call at a business in the 90400 block of Avenue 66 in Mecca — which court papers identified as the Denny’s — where deputies found evidence of forced entry, and a fire blazing within.
Firefighters arrived and extinguished the flames, although the severity of the damage to the structure was not released. It was not immediately clear if the restaurant was in operation at the time.
Video surveillance helped deputies to identify Serrano as a suspect, Bianco said.
Serrano also has a pending misdemeanor case in Riverside County. He was charged in April with giving a false ID to a peace officer and carrying a concealed dirk or dagger, court records show.
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