Search is on for bar arsonist caught on camera

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A dozen surveillance cameras were rolling on Jan. 11, recording video of a masked man as he threw a brick through the front window of a St. Paul bar. He then lit a bottle filled with gasoline and set the building ablaze.

KARE reports the incident happened at the Mounds Park Lounge on Hudson Road near Interstate 94, which is being readied to be opened. Bill Spiess is in the process of buying the business, which he is turning into a sports bar. He had planned to open and start serving customers in February. His new televisions melted and his cash register and new coolers were damaged in the blaze, pushing the damage estimate to nearly $100,000. He said he still hopes to have the bar open by June.

Spiess wants viewers to look closely at the surveillance video in the hopes that someone might recognize the identity of the man with the brick. His face is almost fully covered.

Spiess told the television station that he isn't sure why he was targeted. The bar building is insured, but since the sale was still in progress it's under the name of the previous owner, The St. Paul Fire Department and St. Paul Police are investigating.

A warning to anyone contemplating starting a fire: surveillance cameras are everywhere. On Jan. 17, the Northland News Center in Duluth posted video of two men suspected of arson there. Authorities are offering a $2,500 reward for information on the pair who sparked fires along the city's lakewalk in November. Police say the duo started several fires from the contents from the trash cans at the Veteran's Memorial, which permanently damaging the memorial.

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