Arson and animal cruelty suspect arraigned

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.

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