Phoenix Police are asking for help in identifying and locating a suspect in two arson fires that damaged multiple businesses that 12News first reported last month.
During the investigation, police said, “antisemitic papers were found at one of the locations.”
12News obtained photos of two “papers” that suggested taking responsibility for other fires at businesses in past years. The second note threatened more fires would be set if tenants didn’t move out.
On Tuesday, police released two pictures of the suspect who they said was seen on surveillance video starting the fires on Nov. 27.
The man first set a business office complex on fire around 4 a.m., near 16th Street and Indian School Road. A doctor’s office sustained heavy damage there. Multiple other businesses were also affected by smoke.
An hour later, the man allegedly set a retail shopping center on fire near 21st and Glendale avenues.
The suspect put debris inside a tire and lit it on fire, leaving it in front of Hair Again Salon. The fire burned the front of the business, traveled inside, and extended to the back wall. It was destroyed.
Millie’s Dog World, two doors down, was also impacted by the flames. Firefighters forced their way in and extinguished flames that traveled inside through the vents, the business owner, Millie Spinelli told 12News.
Spinelli has operated her shop at this location for 25 years. November’s fire was the second time in eight months that flames damaged her store, she said.
“It took a whole entire year to get the shop back together and two days later, after everything was put back together, we had another fire,” Spinelli said. “Today, I walked in, and the shop was flooded because there’s holes in the roof from where they were putting out the fire.”
Spinelli said she will remain open for business as her roof gets fixed.
As for Kara McAllister, the owner of Hair Again Salon, she is in the process of rebuilding a new salon in a different suite, but in the same shopping center. The building owner fronted some of the costs, she said.
“The amount of support that I’ve received has been amazing,” McAllister said. “I’m glad with my decision to stay here.”
McAllister has owned the salon for a decade, after purchasing it from her boss who operated it for more than 30 years.
Spinelli and McAllister said nothing will force them out of the community they love to serve.
“This has gone far too long, too many people have been affected,” McAllister said. “Businesses are not coming back from having fires at their places, but Millie and I aren’t going to be run out of here. We’re not going to let the bad guys win.”