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Former TV chef held on suspicion of murder for hire

May 14, 2010 |  9:04 pm

A onetime Food Network chef and cookbook author is in custody for allegedly asking homeless people to kill someone for him, Santa Monica police officials said Friday.

Juan-Carlos Cruz, former host of “Calorie Commando,” was arrested Thursday and booked on suspicion of  solicitation to commit murder, said Sgt. Jay Trisler.

Cruz, 48, is being held at Los Angeles County Jail on $5-million bail.

Police said Cruz allegedly approached people on the streets a week earlier and asked them to kill someone for him. At least one of the homeless individuals contacted police, and, with that assistance, investigators were able to learn details of the alleged solicitation, including how, where and when the target was to be killed, authorities said.

Trisler said the intended target, who is not being identified, was notified of the alleged plot.

Cruz specializes in low-calorie creations, with recipes such as "Air Fries With Nacho Cheese" that are found on the Food Network’s website.

-- Catherine Saillant

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