Arson At Popular Tulsa Restaurant Investigated As Hate Crime

Tuesday, July 6th 2010, 12:03 am
By: News On 6

By Chris Wright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- The Tulsa Police and Fire Departments are investigating an arson at a south Tulsa restaurant.

Tulsa Police said someone broke into the Silver Flame Restaurant in the 6100 block of South Sheridan early Monday afternoon, started a fire and left a message.

The fire did some substantial damage, and no one is sure exactly why anyone would want to burn down such a popular restaurant.

When firefighters arrived at the Silver Flame, they found a cryptic message spray-painted on the wall reading "A Lover Makes A Liar."  Next to it was a small swastika.

The Tulsa Fire Department called police, who quickly decided the fire was intentional.

"There's also evidence possibly of a hate crime here, so we're doing a joint investigation between the police department and the fire department," said Tulsa Police Cpl. George Frye.

The Silver Flame is owned by a Syrian family, who has operated on the corner of 61st and Sheridan for more than a decade. The restaurant's owner was out of town at the time of the incident, but his lawyer said there have never been any problems in the past.

"This establishment has been here for 12, 13 years. The owner is good to the community. He does various things. It's a tragedy when people damage other people's property," said Lee Levinson, the owner's attorney.

The fire marshal's office will handle the arson investigation, while the police will conduct the criminal one, but there's no explanation that will make any sense to those affected by the fire.

"We just hope it's not a hate crime. You see things like that, it makes you sick. It's just unfortunate that someone would do something like this," Levinson said.

Anyone with information about the crime should call Crime Stoppers at 596-COPS.