JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A popular Miramar restaurant went up in flames over the weekend, and detectives are searching for the person who was caught on camera starting the fire.
The State Fire Marshal said that at about 4:30 a.m. Sunday, police responded to a burglar alarm at Toscana Little Italy, in Miramar, off of San Jose Boulevard. Officers found the building on fire and called firefighters.
Surveillance video shows a man walking up to the restaurant's front door and throwing a brick through it, shattering the glass. With a hoodie over his head, the burglar walks in with a can of what officials believe is gasoline and starts to pour it on the floor. He douses the restaurant, the bar and the dining area and then lights it.
"Yeah, I mean pretty much, this was the bar right here, and the guy just came around and poured gasoline all the way around," Mikel Gjergji, owner of Toscana Little Italy, said.
The restaurant is a family owned business, and the family is left wondering why anyone would do this.
"Yeah, the fire marshal actually called me at, I think it was, like, 3:35 a.m., and they told me to come to the restaurant, because it's on fire, and my heart just dropped after that. I just had no words," Gjergji said.
The restaurant is badly damaged, but the owners are determined to rebuild and reopen as soon as possible. They said about 14 people are out of jobs because of the fire.
"We're losing money every day, but we're just, you know, glad that nobody got hurt or nothing like that," Gjergji said.
The alleged arsonist likely thought he could get away with the crime, but the Gjergji family hopes the clear surveillance video helps police catch him before he strikes again.
Anyone with information about the arson is asked to call police or First Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS where anyone with information leading to an arrest can remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward.