Exclusive: Arson suspect didn't start fire, friend claims

Exclusive: Arson suspect didn't start fire, friend claims

Carl Dollar is accused of burning down Olive St. Bistro. His best friend said he didn't do it.

The former manager of a popular Shreveport restaurant is arrested for its arson.  Carl Dollar, 27, is accused of burning down the Olive St. Bistro two months ago.

The restaurant went up in flames Sept. 30 around 10:20 p.m.  It took more than two hours before firefighters got it under control. The business was closed when it caught fire. No one was injured.

On Nov. 25, investigators arrested its former manager Carl Dollar for simple arson, indicating they have reason to believe someone set the place on fire. Olive St. Bistro owner Fernando Maldonado declined to comment on the arrest, “stating he was waiting
for more information.”

The night of the fire, Carl Dollar told NBC 6 he was the last person in the restaurant. He said he was there thirty minutes before the fire making some menus for an upcoming special event. He said he went to deliver them to the owner and when he came back, the
restaurant was up in flames.

Investigators aren’t saying why they believe Carl Dollar committed the crime but his best friend, Bruce Franklin, said authorities have arrested the wrong man.

“I think it’s crazy he’s been charged with this,” said Bruce Franklin. “He has no motive, he wasn’t a disgruntled employee, he wasn’t fired or anything.”

Carl Dollar is a sex offender, convicted in 2006 of molestation of a juvenile. Franklin said Dollar was on parole, and turning his life around. He said Dollar had been working at
the restaurant for less than a year.

“It’s very hard for him to find a job because of his criminal past and so when he has one, he keeps it. For him to voluntarily end his employment by burning the place down with no
gain, it makes no sense,” said Franklin.

Investigators said this is an ongoing, active investigation.

”Our investigators are detailed and thorough in their investigation,” said Asst. to the Chief Fred Sanders, with the Shreveport Fire Department.  “We try not to leave any stone unturned. But to be effective in our investigation, we have to release as little information as possible until the investigation is complete.”

Investigators say the fire caused more than a million dollars in damage. The local bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives helped the Shreveport fire department with this investigation.

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