Greenwood business owner threatened after arson at his restaurant



Posted on November 10, 2009 at 4:44 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 10 at 6:13 PM

SEATTLE - Restaurant owner Timur Leno says the damage to his restaurant "Olive You" is worse than he thought. The wiring was destroyed and there is smoke damage and soot.

But equally disturbing is the threatening phone call he received after his restaurant was torched early Monday morning.

"He just made this remark saying that I should watch my back and that my life is in danger," said Leno.

His cell phone is his business line. He dialed the caller back.

"And then I said 'Who are you? Why are you talking to me like that and why are you threatening me?' He said 'I'm not.' But he just said the same thing again," said Leno.

Seattle Police will not say if they believe the threat is connected to the string of Greenwood arsons.  

There have been at least 10 arsons since June, mostly clustered around Greenwood Avenue and 85th.

Some business owners are spending the night in their stores.

"We are considering taking turns … just trying to protect ourselves," said Tim Nolan of Phinney Ridge Cabinet Co.

Leno's manager stayed at the restaurant until 2 a.m. Monday morning. The fire bug hit an hour later.

"My feeling is this person knows what's going on, watching us, knows what we're doing," he said.

Concern over the arsons is growing and city officials plan to hold a community meeting tonight. Interest is so great, the venue for the community meeting has moved from Upper Crust Catering to the Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church at 7500 Greenwood Avenue N. The meeting will start at 7 p.m. in church's Fellowship Hall.

The meeting is sponsored by the Seattle Fire Department and the Seattle Police Department to talk about the recent arsons in the neighborhood and what residents can do to help prevent arson.

Seattle police won’t speculate on a motive or a profile of a potential suspect. Arson investigators have handed out fliers to local business owners, asking businesses to clear anything flammable away from their buildings. They're also asking people to watch out for anything suspicious.

A reward for information leading to the arrest of the arsonist is now up to $25,000.  If you have any information, call 1-800-55- ARSON.