New Jersey State Police are asking for the public's help identifying a man who set a Cumberland County convenience store on fire.
Kenny Johnson, an employee at the Hopewell Food Market and Sunoco station on Shiloh Pike, told NBC40, "He came running around and said ‘The building is on fire!"
Johnson says early Thursday morning, he and his co-worker walked around the back side of their newly-built convenience store and saw flames climbing up the back of the building. "If we hadn't been there, I’m saying it may have burned all the way down again," explained Johnson.
New Jersey State Police say a white or Hispanic man, between the ages of 25 and 30, was caught on surveillance video lighting the building on fire.
Danielle Seeley lives in the area and said, "It's suspicious...to say the least."
The owner of the Hopewell Food Market says the arsonist rode up to the back side of the building on a bicycle; poured gasoline into gaps of the siding; lit the building on fire; and then left. Owners say, luckily, a gas station attendant was in the area and saw the flames, picked up a hose, and was able to extinguish the fire before it got out-of-hand.
However, employees say this wasn’t the first time. Sabby Singh is an attendant at the Sunoco station and said, "I have seen this place burning twice. They also tried to put the fire in the tanks."
Owners told us in the last two years someone has tried to burn down the business four separate times, and that hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent rebuilding, time and time again.
Mark Reckeweg is an electrician and foreman for the property and said, "This is like sabotage you know...Honestly I'm at a loss for words. For somebody to continue to do something like this, you got to be an idiot."
As police continue to investigate, employees and local residents are wondering why the same store keeps getting hit.
Johnson said, "Somebody is trying to shut it down.” "I do think they have it out for them," added Seeley.
NJSP ask anyone with information, or anyone who knows the man in the surveillance video, to call the Bridgeton Station at (856) – 451 – 0101.
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