GLENDALE, Colo. (CBS4) – Authorities are investigating whether a fire at The Sheepskin Factory in Glendale is tied to an animal rights group.
The fire gutted the business causing $500,000 in damage in late April. The building was located along Colorado Boulevard. It didn’t take long for investigators to label this arson, but now, more than a month after the blaze, a claim of responsibility came from someone calling himself ALF Lone Wolf.
“… was done in defense and retaliation for all the innocent animals that have died cruelly at the hands of human oppressors,” ALF Lone Wolf posted on a website called Bite Back, which is aligned with the Animal Liberation Front (ALF).
“They’re already blaming themselves,” Israel Dominguez with The Sheepskin Factory said.
The store is now operating in temporary quarters. Dominguez strongly denied the business is involved in cruelty to animals.
“They’re grown, they’re fed, they’re well taken care of. I think they are eventually going to die for edible reasons,” Dominguez said.
The posing was the latest in a long string of actions listed involving attacks against businesses around the world.
Police are taking the claim of responsibility very seriously.
“I consider it to be a very solid lead that we are going to follow up very closely; probably one of our more serious leads in the case thus far,” Glendale Police Chief Victor Ross said.
The person they believe was responsible was caught on a security camera just before the fire broke out and now the Animal Liberation Front claims it was involved.
“We’ve enlisted the assistance of the ATF and federal agencies, and we have not stopped investigating the case,” Ross said.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) investigated the fire scene and has offered a $10,000 reward in this case.
“We’ve just received that information recently so what we have is we’re looking into that to corroborate that information,” ATF Special Agent in Charge Marvin Richardson said.
“From the beginning that’s kind of our initial thoughts of who was responsible for this,” said Helena Livaditis, the owner’s daughter. “I’ve always been hoping we could find some type of information on someone who would want to destroy a family business of 30 years.”
ALF is aligned with the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) whose members were convicted in the 1998 Vail lodge arson.