COACHELLA, Calif. - A Coachella man suspected of locking a dog in a stolen car, then setting a fire in a nearby field as he fled from deputies, pleaded not guilty to felony charges today and had his bail upped from $25,000 to $500,000.
Luis Ceja Camacho, 20, was arraigned at the Larson Justice Center in Indio on charges of arson of a non-dwelling, animal cruelty, vehicle theft and receiving stolen property.
At around 1pm Thursday sheriff deputies were called to the parking lot of the Augustine Casino in Coachella when someone spotted a dog locked in a hot car for hours.
Deputies later learned that the car was stolen earlier in Palm Springs.
Witnesses gave deputies a description of the suspect and they later spotted him at Van Buren Street and Avenue 54.
The suspect ran into a field at the intersection, and a short time later a brush fire erupted.
Cal Fire crews put out the blaze in about 20 minutes.
The dog was taken to a nearby vet's office, no word on the animal's condition.
Camacho is due back in court Aug. 1 for a felony settlement conference.