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Suspect arrested in Carlsbad dealership arson, charged with insurance fraud

Posted at 3:18 PM, Apr 24, 2019

CARLSBAD, Calif. (KGTV) —Police say a fire that erupted at a North County car dealership in March was a part of an insurance scam by the suspect.

Carlsbad Police arrested Charleston Octavius McGhee, 29, on April 20 and charged him with multiple felony counts, including insurance fraud and arson.

He was also charged in association with the theft of a 2018 Dodge Charger Hellcat on April 4 from the dealership. His bail has been set at $185,000.

The fire broke out early March 26 at Carlsbad's Bob Baker Chrysler Jeep Dodge RAM Fiat on Car Country Dr. Police say a caller reported several vehicles on fire in the dealership's service department area.

RELATED: Vehicles destroyed in possible arson at Carlsbad dealership

No one was injured, and eight customer vehicles were destroyed as part of the blaze.

Police said surveillance video showed the suspect, clearly, entering the dealership and heading directly toward the vehicles with two bottles of an accelerant.

Investigators believe McGhee set the fire in hopes the dealership would cover the damages since he didn't have a warranty, insurance coverage, or the proposed amount to cover damages to his vehicle.

The dealership is working with insurance companies to cover the loses of those other customers whose vehicles were involved in the fire, the dealership said.