A woman has been indicted on charges of deliberately setting fire to Hollywood District restaurant Reo's Ribs.
Jennifer Lynn Cole, 38, is facing two counts of arson for starting a blaze Nov. 23 that damaged the popular barbecue outpost.
A surveillance video from around 2 am that night shows a woman in pajamas and slippers lighting and then feeding a fire in the garbage area near the restaurant. The building sustained "quite a bit of damage," says co-owner Myra Girod.
According to an affidavit filed Dec. 21 in Multnomah County Circuit Court, officers near the scene stopped Cole, who identified herself using a pseudonym, Anna Hadjeson. She was described as "very twitchy" and "difficult to understand" and was found carrying paper and a lighter, but she was not arrested.
On Dec. 18, police issued a screenshot of the suspect from the surveillance video. A tipster recognized Cole, who had been sleeping in the doorway of his business, as the woman from the photo and alerted authorities.
Records show Cole has previously been arrested for a litany of felonies and misdemeanors, including identify theft, burglary and possession of methamphetamine.
This is the second time Reo's Ribs has had to close due to fire damage: The business shuttered for over a year due to damage from a May 2017 blaze. Police found no evidence of arson in that case, though co-owner and namesake Reo Varnado—the uncle of rapper Snoop Dogg—suggested at the time that he was a victim of racism.
The November fire came shortly after Varnado's brother publicly criticized recent protest-related property damage in the Hollywood area, causing some in the right-wing media to speculate—without evidence—that the fire was set by leftist vandals. But Girod says she doesn't believe the arson was politically or racially motivated.
Girod says Reo's Ribs hopes to reopen in spring.