County's only strip club set on fire twice in 5 days

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. -- Two family-owned South Valley businesses are the targets of arson this weekend, leaving them to wonder who did it and why.

Tulare County Fire Investigators say a fire started outside Saints & Sinners Gentlemen's Club around 4:30 Tuesday morning near the intersection of Lindmore and Mirage in Lindsay. It's just the latest setback for the only strip club in Tulare County.

After a long battle with county officials, Saints & Sinners was finally ready to rock and roll, as a family member of its owner and head of security put it. But a fire set to the front of the building Friday night and to the side again Tuesday morning has set them back again.

"They've been here a couple times trying to get rid of it, so they want to finish the job, they want it gone," the man said.

Saints & Sinners' owner Marilu Lopez and her family thought setbacks were behind them. They got the green light from the county to reopen its doors just months ago. But it's not the county the club has a problem with now, but whoever the arsonists are, caught on the club's surveillance camera Friday night throwing something flammable at the front entrance. Flames appear moments later and they run back to where they came from.

In between the two arsons, there was another at Blind Dog's Smoke Shop in the small town of Strathmore, according to Tulare County Fire's Jeff McLaughlin.

"We're also looking into that to see if these two incidents are tied together," McLaughlin said.

Tulare County fire investigators do have persons of interest but have not been able to identify them. A worker at the smoke shop tells ABC30 that their window was also shot at about a week ago. She believes whoever targeted the strip club also targeted them. The two businesses are only a mile apart. But she says they're here to stay, and family members behind Saints & Sinners Gentlemen's Club say the same.

"We're gonna be here," the head of security said. "It's the only one in Tulare County, and it's going to be the only one in Tulare County."

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