ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – A St. Paul bar was set on fire, and it was all caught on camera.

On Jan. 10, someone intentionally started the Mounds Park Lounge on fire, which caused extensive damage inside the building.

Owner Bill Spiess hopes the public recognizes the person captured in the surveillance video and alerts authorities.

“It’s devastating, it really is,” Spiess said.

He was forced to start over just three weeks before the reopening of the newly-remodeled bar. The blow to business is made worse because the fire was intentional.

“I’m trying not to be angry, I’m trying to be positive about the whole thing,” he said.

Surveillance video captured someone walking to the front of the bar, and then smashing the window with brick before tossing in a Molotov cocktail.

It smoldered and eventually ignited. Weeks of remodeling were wrecked in a matter of minutes.

“You don’t get a great look at him, but, you know, we do know his height. He’s right handed, he walks a certain way,” he said. “We’re hoping somebody recognizes him.”

This wasn’t the first time the bar was targeted. A similar fire, before Thanksgiving, prompted Spiess to install cameras.

In that case, the damage wasn’t extensive.

“The first time it was the same M.O. It came through the window, but it was a small fire and it was put out,” he said.

After two fires, Spiess says he can’t think of anyone who would want to cause damage to his business.

“I don’t think it’s personal with me. I don’t think so,” he said.

Spiess isn’t waiting for an arrest to move forward with his retirement dream. Fire may have slowed the start of his business, but he’s promising a strong finish.

“We’re looking forward to opening again,” he said.

Spiess doesn’t officially own the bar. He’s been leasing it since September and still plans to close in February.

The hope is that he can reopen it in June.


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