MATHIS (KIII NEWS) - Mathis police have a juvenile in custody for the May 23 arson fire that destroyed a convenience store. The owners of that store say it was a hate crime, and because of the fire they are now in financial straits.
"I want my justice," said Asma Chaudary, owner of the Boo Boo's convenience store in Mathis.
A 16-year-old boy is now facing charges for that crime.
Police said there is also another suspect being looked at.
Asma and Mumtaz Chaudary own the store and believe it was targeted because they are Muslim. They said that several days before the fire they were both threatened.
"They came on me and they say that in Muslim England did something and you are Muslim and we are going to do the same thing to you people, because you are Muslim," Chaudary said. "I said nothing to do with me."
The Chaudarys said people had heard a rumor that they had given information to police which helped convict a neighborhood man in of drug case. They said they never told police anything about anyone.
The Mathis police chief said after looking into the hate crime claims, he could not find any real evidence.
"Through the investigation we have found no link to a hate crime," Mathis Police Chief Pedro Saenz said. "We do know that the parties did know each other. They were patrons of the business. They had patronized the business for the four years it was open. These are people that are known to them and that was as far as it was, but as far as a hate crime, these were people that visited them every day."
The couple said they put in over $100,000 of their savings to open up their business and keep it running, but they did not have insurance. One American Islamic organization stepped in and started a GoFundMe account, and that raised $10,000.
The Chaudary family needs $25,000 to reopen. In the meantime, Mumtaz is on disability and Asma is working as a waitress. They said they cannot make ends meet, and they can't finish the rebuild on their store. They are hoping someone out there can help them through this nightmare.
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