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San Gabriel Valley Digest

Alhambra : Juveniles Deny Charges

March 14, 1993

Three juveniles denied guilt last week in Juvenile Court to charges of burglary and arson in connection with a blaze that caused $1 million damage to a former Mercedes-Benz car dealership.

A date for the arraignment of a fourth juvenile has not been set, Deputy Dist. Atty. Marlene Sanchez said.

Authorities allege that the four Alhambra 15-year-olds broke into the vacant showroom of Jim Marino Imports Inc., 1333 West Main Ave., on Feb. 27 and stuffed burning paper into the walls on the second floor.

Alhambra Fire Department spokeswoman Paulette Roberts said an informant's tip led arson investigators and police to the youths.

Three youths, whose names have not been released because of their age, are being held in Central Juvenile Hall. The fourth boy was released to his parents.

Four firefighters who battled the blaze that gutted the 20,000-square-foot building suffered minor injuries, Roberts said. One was hurt when the roof of the building collapsed on him.

Twelve residents were temporarily evacuated from a nearby apartment because the vacant dealership housed hazardous materials, including waste oil and acid.

Jim Marino Imports Inc. filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year and was about to sell the dealership, city officials said.

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