Two managers of a Lake City Domino's Pizza restaurant were charged with arson after a 10-day investigation into the suspicious fire of a Papa John's restaurant.
The predawn fire at 2815 U.S. Highway 90 on Oct. 20 was investigated by Lake City police, the state Fire Marshal's Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
After investigators determined the fire was set, police on Thursday arrested 23-year-old Sean Davidson, of Lake City, who was a manager at Domino's.
During an interview with detectives, police said, Davidson initially denied torching the restaurant, but they found suspicious burns on his body from around the time the fire was set. Detectives said Davidson later admitted to setting the fire. During a second interview the next day, Davidson told officers that he hoped Domino's business would increase if Papa John's closed.
Davidson also told police that he asked a second Domino's manager, Bryan Sullivan, to assist with the arson.
Sullivan, 21, was arrested on Friday. Both are being held in the Columbia County Detention Facility on arson charges with bail set at $20,000.
"Basically, what Mr. Sullivan has said is they got aggravated by watching the Papa John's vehicles drive past," said John Blanchard, of the Lake City Police Department. "I believe another statement he had made was he had gone out and taken some of the signs that they had posted on corners and what not."
Arlene Sumner has worked at the Papa John's restaurant for four years. She said it was her livelihood.
"It was awesome. We just got new owners and they were great," said Sumner, a manager. "It was a really pleasant job."
Sumner said they plan to rebuild the Papa John's in the same place as soon as possible.
"I don't have anything to say to them," Sumner said. "I mean, I'm sorry that anyone felt they had to resort to this. But we are going to rebuild, so it was all pointless."
Domino's corporate office released this statement Monday:
"This incident is the result of individuals acting independently, and now, in addition to an innocent Papa John's franchisee having to rebuild a store, an innocent local Domino's Pizza store owner has to rebuild a reputation. This act had nothing to do with him, nor our brand, whatsoever."