Two weeks after robbers set fire to a sports bar in Arapahoe County, its doors remain closed, even during one of the busiest times of the year.
Judson Dimond, owner of Sportsbook Bar & Grill, said one of his biggest fears as a business owner is fire. Last month, his worst fears became reality when he received a call from police early one morning.
The fire occurred just days before the NFL conference championship game, which Dimond said is the busiest weekend of the football season.
“Well, this weekend is the Super Bowl, but we're going to miss it. It's a fun weekend where everyone celebrates football season,” Dimond said.
Dimond said 40 employees are also out of work, missing out on the opportunity to work well-paying shifts during football, basketball and hockey seasons.
“The Nuggets and Avalanche are in full swing. That keeps us busy not only on the weekends but also during the week, and unfortunately we're missing out on those opportunities,” Dimond said.
But they are working hard to reopen before March, the busiest month of the year.
“We're still cleaning and renovating and repairing, making all the calls and getting people here to resolve issues,” Dimond said.
Everything had to be cleaned or thrown away, from cleaning furniture and removing smoke-contaminated food and alcohol to replacing audio-visual equipment and systems and repairing water damage.
“It's like starting a new business all over again,” Dimond said. “Cost-wise, it could reach $1 million.”
Dymond said it was overwhelming and scary to arrive at his business and see all the fire trucks in the parking lot. From the parking lot, it could be seen that the front door had been broken into.
Surveillance video shows the intruder attempting to break into the ATM machine but was unsuccessful. He also tried to rummage through the drawers. He then went to the back office and tried to break into the safe, but was unsuccessful. At that time, he started a fire inside the back office.
Dimond added that the silver lining is that the fire was confined to the office. He said the entire building would have burned down had the water pipes above burst and water not flowed downwards.
“Water flowed into the office and that's what put the fire out,” Dimond said.
While he waits for the day the doors reopen, he's also making sure his staff continues to get paid and have regular visits. Some picked up shifts elsewhere.
“They know what's going on. They know the plan. They know that our absolute goal is for us to reopen and to reopen better than before.” said Dimond. “We have a responsibility to our staff and customers to reopen and be better than before.”
Dimond said she plans to reopen in time for March Madness, the busiest time of the year.
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A suspect remains in custody in connection with a fire at Sportsbook Bar and Grill.
In the early morning hours of January 26th, the suspectJust before that, I called Fuji Hibachi and Sushi and ignited that business as well. His third break-in at Rodizio Grill by the same suspect occurred after breaking into a sushi restaurant and a sports bar.
Jerrell Q. Bailey, 30, is charged with robbery, arson, criminal mischief, menacing and theft.
Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office deputies took the suspect into custody at a nearby intersection.
The Greenwood Village Police Department is leading the investigation, and South Metro Fire is also investigating the arson incident.