Police are searching for a man who tried to burn down a deli on Sunday after a fight with the clerk. Security camera video released by the NYPD (see below) shows a man spraying flammable liquid on the ground, then lighting the accelerant's container on fire before tossing it into the store.
The incident began around 6 a.m. on Sunday at the First Stop Deli at 3925 White Plains Road. According to the NYPD, the man "got into a verbal dispute" with the clerk, which devolved into a physical altercation. Later that day, the same man returned to the deli and "spread the contents of a canister of flammable liquid in front of and inside the store and lit it on fire," police say. He then ran away.
The store employee was able to extinguish the blaze, which caused minor property damage.
Police sources tell the Daily News the argument started because the suspect, who was not a regular customer, did not have enough money to pay for some cigars he wanted, and became angry when the clerk refused to let him leave with the merchandise and a promise to come back and pay for them later.
ABC 7 reports that during the dispute the man shouted anti-Muslim slurs at the clerk and threw beer at him. "He say you are a Muslim and terrorist, and threw beer in his face," store owner Tarik Alomary told the news channel.
Police describe the suspect, who is wanted for arson, as being in his 20s and say he was last seen wearing a back hoodie, denim vest, and blue pants.
Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.