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It’s not easy to make a living, but it’s even harder when your hot dog cart is set on fire by an arsonist. A San Diego hot dog vendor claims one or more of the area’s homeless population set fire to his cart as an act of retaliation. Now, he’s left picking up the pieces and wondering what to do next.

Hotdogs, Homeless, and Arson

Pete Soto, the owner of the hot dog cart, has been in business for two decades. For the last five years, he’s been selling his dogs near the Lyceum Theatre. The area has seen a growing population of homeless people, and according to Soto, this has caused some trouble for his business. He claims the homeless want free chips and hotdogs, and when he doesn’t give them what they want, they fight back.

That fighting back has come in different forms, according to Soto. He states that someone even used a knife to intimate one of his employees in the past.

Now, he claims the alleged arson is the last straw, and he’s going to relocate his cart. He doesn’t think he can stay safe if he continues to work near the Lyceum Theatre.

what to do with arsonIs It Arson?

Although Soto is quick to claim arson, San Diego Fire-Rescue has yet to announce its findings. The investigation is ongoing, and people are quick to point out that these investigations are time-consuming and detailed. It is dangerous to charge someone with arson if a crime hasn’t been committed, although that does occur from time to time. That is why a vigorous defense is always important in arson cases.

Addressing the Problem

Soto might be moving his cart away from the homeless population, but that might not be necessary. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer also has plans to relocate, but he’s not moving hot dog carts. He plans to relocate some of the homeless population. Thanks to help from community partners, plans are in the works to open three shelters. These shelters will act as bridge-to-housing shelters, and they can help get hundreds of homeless people off the street.

Proper Representation Is Important

If the investigators come back with the finding of arson, that does not mean that the accused is actually guilty. Everyone should get a fair trial, from the homeless to the wealthy. Going into court without proper representation is dangerous, especially in something that’s as tricky as arson. A proper defense is needed to ensure that all bases are covered.

Right now, it’s important to wait and see what the investigation finds. It might find that the fire was accidental, or the investors might find evidence that points to arson. Just remember that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and thus far, there is no proof that the area’s homeless population was involved in setting fire to the hot dog cart. Even if arson is determined, a suspect has yet to be named in the case.

Author Photo

Kerry L. Armstrong

Attorney Kerry Armstrong opened up his law firm, the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, in June 2007. Prior to that, he was employed as the senior associate attorney for a large criminal defense firm in San Diego for nine years, eventually being placed in charge of that firm’s branch office in downtown San Diego. At one point, he was managing six attorneys at that firm, as well as several support staff and law clerks.

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