Several classic cars were destroyed overnight in a fire that’s been deemed suspicious at a restoration shop in Chula Vista.
Michael Perez, owner of Mp Kustoms Auto Detailing & Auto Body, told NBC 7 he couldn’t believe what he saw when he reviewed surveillance. Footage captured a man in all black breaking the windows to four classic cars and possibly pouring an accelerant, then lighting them on fire.
“It’s really bad. It’s really bad,” Perez said. “The Impala, the Monte Carlo -- they’re rare cars and you can’t really find pieces for them.”
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Perez added that he’s having trouble understanding the man’s actions in the video.
“My mind spins because we’ve never had any issues with anybody,” he said. “We’ve never had any conflicts. We’re just hard workers and we work honest for what we do.”
Authorities said the blaze happened sometime before 4 a.m. outside the shop on Main Street. The vehicles, which were from the 70s and 80s, sustained damage that exceeded $100,000. Although thankful his shop has insurance, Perez said the fire impacts more than just the business side of Mp Kustoms.
“The girl who was here earlier for the Monte Carlo, she’s a breast cancer survivor and the car was a comeback for her,” Perez said. “All she needed now is just the engine and transmission put in but now, she’s going to start from scratch.”
“It’s the moment, the experience, the time,” he explained. “It’s more than just the car and money, it’s time; people put their hearts into these cars.”
Chula Vista firefighters have not officially declared the act an arson, but say the case remains under investigation.