New Clues Show Arson At Tulsa Restaurant Could Be Inside Job

Thursday, July 8th 2010, 6:11 pm
By: News On 6

By Chris Wright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Investigators want to talk to a Tulsa restaurant owner about what they say was an intentionally-set fire at the Silver Flame.

An affidavit requesting a search warrant reveals more evidence about the apparent arson at the restaurant Monday.

7/5/2010 Related Story: Arson At Popular Tulsa Restaurant Investigated As Hate Crime

The Silver Flame has stood on the corner of 61st and Sheridan for more than a dozen years. Employees say there have never been any significant problems, until Monday.

That's when investigators say someone intentionally started a fire on the second floor, and left a cryptic message: A Lover Makes a Liar. A swastika was also spray painted nearby. His lawyer says the owner, Adbdul Ahlou, is devastated.

"He's a hard worker. He basically runs that restaurant," Lee Levinson said. "It's his life. He's there six days a week, 12 hours a day."

Ahlou is out of the country on vacation. According to an affidavit, investigators want to speak with him when he gets back. Employees told them that business had been slow, and the wait staff had their hours cut in order to cut costs. But Levinson argues that every restaurant is dealing with economic difficulties.

"If you would go out to interview 100 restaurants in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 99 of their business would be down out of 100," Levinson said.

The affidavit states that the Silver Flame's temporary manager says Ahlou disabled the alarm system before leaving on vacation because he did not want to give employees the access code. The gas line was cut, and $400 in cash was also stolen from behind the bar.

Levinson says his client had nothing to do with the fire, but agrees that is was no accident.

"Whether it's an inside job, that's possible. I think anything's possible," he said. "I think the law enforcement agency doing their complete investigation is absolutely necessary."