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Man allegedly tries to burn down San Bernardino County preschool

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CBS News Los Angeles Live

A federal grand jury indicted a New Mexico man who allegedly tried to burn down a San Bernardino County preschool while children were inside it. 

The suspect, 36-year-old Jonathan A. Barajas Nava, faces a maximum of 40 years in federal prison if he's convicted of two counts of attempted destruction of property by means of fire. If a jury finds him guilty, he will be imprisoned for a mandatory minimum of five years.

The US Department of Justice accused Nava of pouring "ignitable liquid" at the entrance of Retreat Church and Yucaipa Christian Preschool before lighting it on fire on April 24. Prosecutors said 48 preschoolers and 14 staff members were inside the building during the fire. 

Luckily, no one was hurt. 

Nava also tried to burn down a Yucaipa strip mall by sparking a fire on the building's gas meters with an "ignitable liquid" on the same day. 

Authorities arrested him shortly after. State prosecutors charged him before federal authorities took over the case. 

Nava was detained pending trial during his first court appearance on May 8. His arraignment is scheduled for May 28 at the US District Court in Riverside. 

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