ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – There is an arrest warrant out for 43-year-old Isela Camarena for allegedly setting fire to the Islamic Center of New Mexico, near Yale and Cesar Chavez, last month.
“We are really relieved and thrilled to know that FBI and APD have identified a suspect,” said Tahir Gauba, Director of Public Affairs for the Islamic Center of New Mexico. The group asked the arson be investigated as a possible hate crime.
Last month, a woman was caught on surveillance video starting a fire and throwing items on fire onto the building’s playground. The video also shows the woman starting a fire in the trashcan and moving that trashcan in front of building doors, “putting the structure in direct danger of being caught on fire,” according to court documents.
At the time, the Islamic Center asked the arson be investigated as a possible hate crime and court documents claim the arsonist started the fire with “seemingly malicious intent”. According to court documents, the fire caused $2,800 in damage to the building. The Islamic Center said it has cost them an additional $9,000 to fix up the playground and replace the damaged turf.
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“It’s been a nightmare but like I say, we love New Mexico and this is our home to us. So, we’re going to do everything to make sure anyone who walks into Islamic Center, they feel secure praying or even visiting us,” said Gauba.
He said they are making more than $20,000 worth of security improvements, including upgrading their gate and camera system. Court documents said earlier this month police received a tip that Camarena may have been involved in the November arson. Police then interviewed family who identified her in the surveillance video. Camarena is facing a third-degree felony arson charge. She has a previous criminal history including two DWI charges and a residential burglary charge.