Salty Nut Security Cameras Provide Basis For Arson Investigation
Security cameras at the Salty Nut Cafe captured footage of a man throwing a Molotov cocktail through one of the restaurant's windows.
Salty Nut general manager Phil Hopewell said the restaurant is expected to reopen in three to five months.
By: Ryan Velasquez
The Salty Nut Cafe is still recovering from an arson attack in early January, but its security cameras have helped the police attempts to find the arsonist.
Police say they have yet to identify the attacker, but surveillance video of a man throwing a Molotov cocktail through one of the restaurant's windows has given investigators a clear image of the man.
"The measures that we had in place proved to be extremely beneficial in the end," said Phil Hopewell, Salty Nut General Manager. "We really would've been shooting from the hip in the investigation without the footage of the guy."
Still images of the suspect can be found on the Salty Nut's Facebook page, and anyone with information about his identity can contact the restaurant on this site or by calling the number posted on USC's Crime Alerts Web page.
The restaurant's alarm system was also a valuable asset, alerting the fire department immediately and minimizing the damage to the building.
"Fire teams got here pretty quickly. They were able to salvage more than I expected, to be honest with you, from the inside, and there was no structural damage," Hopewell said.
The Salty Nut is expected to reopen in three to five months, and Hopewell said he'd like to see the restaurant's security policy taken a step further.
"We probably need to end up having somebody around the area 24-seven," Hopewell said. "We've got to stop this problem and we've got to make Five Points safe again. That's the number one concern for everybody around."
The fire caught the attention of the rest of the Five Points community, including Creative Kids Toy Shop. Like the Salty Nut, Creative Kids manager Melodie Ingwersen said her store is well prepared for a potential attack.
"There is camera surveillance on both sides of us, which of course did provide some information in the Salty Nut case, and we've always had a security system that has both calls for police and fire," Ingwersen said.