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Man charged with threatening to firebomb Santa Ana church

February 9, 2011 |  9:55 am

An 18-year-old man was in a Santa Ana jail Wednesday for allegedly threatening -- while high on methamphetamines -- to throw a Molotov cocktail at a Santa Ana church whose members he believed were appearing in his mirror.

Jose Alberto Neri, of Santa Ana, is charged with three felonies and three misdemeanors, including attempted arson, possession of a destructive device in public, carrying a butterfly knife and being under the influence of drugs.

The incident was reported Sunday at about 9 p.m. while dozens of people worshipped inside a church near the 500 block of S. Van Ness Avenue in Santa Ana.

Neri, who lives across an alley from the church, allegedly told police that people there were disturbing his peace and quiet, said Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.

“He said these people were showing up in his mirror and that that was violating his space and he was going to put a stop to it,” Bertagna said.

Neri had a replica gun in his pocket, a knife and a Molotov cocktail made from a beer bottle, .357 Magnum bullets and lighter fluid, Bertagna said.

He was being held in lieu of $500,000 bond at Men’s Central Jail in Santa Ana, according to sheriff’s records.

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-- Paloma Esquivel

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