Investigators say arson to blame in pawn shop fire

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KANSAS CITY, Mo - A business that took years to build crumbled down in flames in mere minutes. Thursday night that pawn shop owner has learned it was no accident, but now a business neighbor has come forward with a key piece of evidence that may help solve the crime.

"This is our life, this is how we make a living," National Pawn Owner Danny Russell said.

But Russell had to watch one of the biggest parts of his life go up in flames. It was a helpless, gut wrenching feeling he's never felt before.

"Oh, you can't believe what you go through," he said.

Russell got a call from his alarm company at 6 a.m. He thought someone had broken in.

"We were on I-70 and I saw smoke. I thought it was clouds," Russell recalled.

When he got closer, he realized it was clouds of smoke.

Flames were tearing down the business he built from the ground up. Hours later, the smoke has cleared and the clean up began. Through further investigation, firefighters confirmed Russell's worst fear, someone intentionally set his business on fire.

"I don't know why anyone intentionally do that," he said.

The why investigators are still unsure, but the who might be coming to light. The laundromat next door caught video surveillance of a man wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, green coat and black bag looking inside.

"It shows a white male walking out of the alley at approximately the right time which was 5:48, 5:50," Russell explained.

That was just minutes before the National Pawn went up in flames.

Investigators believe the man may possibly be suspected, and are actively searching for him. As for the Russells, they're taking it one day at a time.

"You just rebuild. Keep on going, what else do you do?" Russell said.

If you know anything about the pawn shop fire call Crimestoppers at (816) 474-TIPS.

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