Saginaw arson victim says she doesn't know suspect

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on February 22, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 24 at 9:30 PM

Sisters Antique Mall

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SAGINAW — Police in Saginaw are still trying to find the man who walked into an antique mall on Tuesday, doused one of its owners with gasoline, and set the business on fire.

Deborah Stroud was released from Harris Methodist Hospital with minor injuries. Friends who visited her Saginaw home on Wednesday describe her as "traumatized."

Stroud and her sister, Joyce Erwin, opened Sisters Antique Mall and Tea Room last May. Their warehouse featuring dozens of wooden cubicles filled with antiques is now a charred memory.

"They're so sweet and so nice. They would do anything for anybody, and just to have this happen is beyond belief," said Scott Tanner, the chef at the shop's tea room.

Tanner visited Stroud on Wednesday afternoon. She is recovering from minor burns and bruises.

In addition to trying to set her on fire, the culprit dragged her around the store.

"They're both in shock. They don't know what to do," Tanner said. "They don't know what to say. How do you react to this?"

Police said the antique mall did not have surveillance cameras. Neither did businesses next door and across the street. Investigators spent the day talking with more than 40 witnesses.

"It's a very unusual case, and right now, we have questions we need answers to," said Saginaw police spokesman Damon Ing.

Stroud's attorney, Leslie Barrows, told News 8 the victim doesn't know why the man would want to do something so heinous. "We have no idea who it was. And we're not sure how it happened," Barrows said. "There was no connection or anything like that, so it was very shocking."

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com

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