Fire guts Garrison store; arson suspected

GARRISON, TX (KTRE) - Investigators believe burglars broke into a Garrison convenience store early Friday and set the place on fire in order to cover up evidence. The fire gutted the building.

Police Chief Joel Barton said it appears burglars stole at least one cash register and a game machine from Little's convenience store, located on U.S. 59 North. A driver witnessed suspicious activity at the store and reported it to the sheriff's office around 2 a.m.

The sheriff's office is assisting in the investigation.

Barton said there are no suspects in the case yet.

Investigators suspect a fire was started on the store counter when the recorder that goes with the cameras couldn't be found.

"When we arrived on the scene, fire department still here and the electricity still on, so to the criminal's mind when we can't kill the video system, so we'll just destroy the evidence," Barton said.

"They think by setting any kind of fire that they're actually moving all he evidence of their crime, which they're just creating more evidence for a new crime," said Nacogdoches Fire Marshal Del Birdwell.

Once inside two cash registers and a game machine filled with quarters were stolen. Little's has been Mohammed Kahn's only livelihood for nine years.

"It's a situation I have really, I don't understand, really," Khan said.

Kahn says his family could have coped with that loss. The fire and water damage will be a tougher recovery.

"They took a couple of thousand dollars, but they destroyed the whole store," Khan said.

Little's convenience store has served customers since 1990. When Kahn bought it he chose to keep the business well known name for the customers. After this morning's suspected arson fire, Kahn says Little's will return to Garrison.

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