Watch how fires are put out up close
An Atwater man has been convicted of arson after he reportedly set fire to the Applegate area Super Target, shutting down the megastore for almost a month.
Jaime Rojas, 43, entered into a plea deal Tuesday, pleading no contest to arson of property and second-degree burglary, according to court records. Additional felony charges of vandalism, grand theft and receiving stolen property were dropped, as a result of the deal.
A Merced County judge on Sept. 4 will sentence Rojas.
He faces a maximum of more than four years in prison, said Brad Nix, Merced County chief supervising deputy district attorney. But the plea agreement recommended a total of two years and eight months in prison.
Police and firefighters responded to reports of a fire just after 9 p.m., Aug. 7, 2018, at the Target in the 1000 block of Commerce Avenue in Atwater, investigators said.
Rojas set fire to items on the toilet paper aisle of the store, police said. The store was evacuated and no injuries were reported.
Store management had to shut down the store to remove water and repair walls and fixtures, Target spokesperson Kali Dingman said.
Food was donated to the Merced County Food Bank and damaged products were replaced, Dingman said.
The store opened on Sept. 2.