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‘So stupid:’ Police seek man accused of setting fire to bar after friends without ID turned away

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Theresa Sollazo

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee police need your help locating an arson suspect -- accused of setting a bar on fire after the owner kicked his friends out.

It happened Saturday night, March 23, around 11:30 p.m. at Sollozo's 703 Club near 7th and Layton. FOX6 found the flames damaged the siding, but thankfully, the cameras mounted on the building were not damaged. When the owners went to view the footage to see what happened, they not only realized someone set the fire, but they realized the suspect lives just up the street.

"I went, 'Oh my God. That's the guy up the street. Nobody's ever tried to set us on fire before," said Theresa Sollazo.

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Sollazo said her husband was bartending on Saturday when he experienced a first in his 48 years in business.

Arson at at Sollozo's 703 Club near 7th and Layton

Sollazo was able to laugh about it Thursday because fortunately, no one was hurt.

Cameras captured a young man pouring gasoline around the outside of the bar's main entrance, and then throwing a match onto it.

"Thank God it happened while my husband was here. If he had done it like, at closing and nobody was here, who knows how long the flames would have went," said Sollazo.

Sollazo said earlier in the evening, the suspect, who had been in the bar before, stopped by with a group of friends. Her husband carded them and some didn't have Ids, so he told them they had to leave.

"There was no big altercation. Just maybe a little huffiness, and out the door they went," said Sollazo.

A half-hour later, her husband smelled smoke.

"He opens the door. Oh my God, flames all over the place. We do have a fire extinguisher, but his first instinct was to grab pitchers of water. So he grabs pitchers of water and put it out," said Sollazo.

While the damage was contained to the siding, Sollazo said the suspect is facing serious felony charges since a handful of people were inside when the bar could've burned down.

"Think before you do something so silly, so stupid. You're going to ruin your whole life," said Sollazo.

Sollazo said when police went to knock on the door at the suspect's parents' home just up the street, he wasn't there.

The suspect was described as a male, white, with black hair and a slim build. He was last seen wearing a blue Nike hoodie, black pants and black shoes. The suspect was last seen running from the scene with a red gas can.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Milwaukee Police Department at 414-935-7360.

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