Juan-Carlos Cruz

How's this for a headline: "Chef Hires Hitman!" Sounds crazy, right?

Not in the case of onetime Food Network host Juan-Carlos Cruz, aka the Calorie Commando—although hitman might be too strong of a word. Cruz was arrested Thursday afternoon in Santa Monica on suspicion of soliciting homeless people to commit murder.

Officers working with the Santa Monica's Homeless Liaison Program were contacted last Friday by several homeless individuals claiming to be approached by the chef, says Sgt. Jay Trisler.

"The individuals who were solicited agreed to assist the Santa Monica Police Department in the investigation," Trisler explains, noting that officers were given the time and location the murder was to take place, as well as payment plans. Police declined to confirm local news reports claiming Cruz was targeting his wife.

The 48-year-old cookbook author and former host of Weighing In is currently being held in lieu of $5 million bail, and is expected to be arraigned Monday.

(Originally published May 15, 2010, at 10:15 a.m. PT)

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