Bar Set Ablaze to Cover Burglary

By: James Steiner
By: James Steiner

We are learning much more information about a fire Tuesday morning inside a popular sports bar and restaurant in Reno.

Investigators say it now looks like the fire was set to conceal another crime.

Investigators now say the fire at "Legends" was intentionally set to destroy evidence of a burglary. In fact, detectives believe the sports bar was a target of someone who's burglarized at least four of these types of businesses in the past two weeks.

"It's like that old TV show Cheers- like everybody knows your name," says Dale Simmons, a patron of Legends.

Everybody knew something was wrong when they showed up for lunch at "Legends" on South Virginia street. The restaurant was closed indefinitely and patrons soon found out their favorite place to eat had been vandalized then set on fire.

"Just sickens me somebody would do this. It's ridiculous that the property would be destroyed," said patron Evan Stern.

Investigators estimate the damage at between $75 - 100,000. They know the fire was intentionally set and they know someone used matches to light several fires inside the business.

Said Capt. Bill Burney of the Reno Fire Dept. about the blaze: "Often times crime concealment is a reason for arson."

Owners say in this case it was steal money. They say the vandals broke in through the back door between 11:30 at night and 6 in the morning. They went straight to the video poker machines, ripped them out and stole the money.

Then set the place on fire.

The owners say the gas was left on in the restaurant, as well as the stoves.

Detectives say the vandalism fits the description of one suspect, who's been targeting sports bars in Reno and burglarizing slot machines inside.

Up until this incident, he never tried to start a fire.

Authorities have video of two of the burglaries they believe he's responsible for - but, he's wearing a mask.

Investigators even believe he, as well as other individuals, may be responsible for a dozen slot machine burglaries at sports bars and convenience stores in the past month and a half.

This crime was a lot more serious. Arson is a felony which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. t's a very serious crime...and investigators hope they have enough evidence to charge him with that.


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