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Man charged with lighting his St. Paul business on fire

WCCO digital headlines: Afternoon of March 1, 2024
WCCO digital headlines: Afternoon of March 1, 2024 01:30

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A St. Paul man is accused of starting a fire at his own business last August.

Tou Ma Cha, of Little Canada, was charged on Friday with one count of second-degree arson. 

Charging documents say his business, Checkerboard Pizza, and another grocery store business were damaged due to the fire on Aug. 9.

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Video surveillance footage shows Cha going between Checkerboard Pizza and then repeatedly entering a nearby apartment complex on the day.

Charging documents go on to say video surveillance shows Cha's wife coming out of the pizza shop and getting into the couple's car. Then, Ma is seen going between the pizza shop and the door of an apartment nearby. A few minutes later, a fire starts.

Cha also admitted to police that he was present at the time of the fire. He denied being in the apartment entryway where the fire started, even though video shows he was there, documents say.

The second-degree arson charge carries a maximum 10 year sentence.

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