Police in a Minneapolis suburb are investigating an early morning fire at the home of a couple who had a large “Trump 2020” sign in their front yard, the New York Post reports.
Dennis and Deana Molla, of Brooklyn Center, believe they may have been the target of an arson attack because of their political beliefs.
“A big, loud boom”
First responders were called to the property around 4. a.m. Wednesday after reports of an explosion, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
“I heard just a big, loud boom, or a bang,” Dennis Molla told local CBS affiliate WCCO. “The first thing for me was my kids, my wife. What’s going on?”
Mr. Molla says he saw people run away, and according to WCCO, one of their surveillance cameras was blocked. A large “Trump 2020” sign in the front yard was destroyed by the fire, and someone had spray-painted “Biden 2020,” “BLM,” and an anarchist symbol on the garage, according to the New York Post.
The home received minor damage, but the fire destroyed the garage and vehicles inside, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported. Officers and firefighters were able to save three dogs and five puppies. No one was hurt.
“We woke up to a loud explosion, and saw that our camper was on fire, along with both of Dennis’ trucks, his garage, and our entire back yard,” Deana Molla wrote in a Facebook post, according to WCCO. “Thank God our main house is safe. We are safe. Our children are safe.”
“I don’t want to deal with this”
The couple, who are the parents of a 2-year-old and a 5-month-old, say they had just gotten the large sign, according to the New York Post. Now, the Mollas have no desire to keep displaying their political affiliations publicly.
“If it’s really because of the flag, I wouldn’t have gotten it. I don’t want to deal with this at all,” Dennis Molla said, according to the local Fox 9.
The incident comes in the midst of an intense political climate, with a presidential election coming after months of unrest that have seen protesters march through residential neighborhoods and harass homeowners in the middle of the night.
“This fire is considered suspicious and our investigation remains extremely active,” Brooklyn Center police Cmdr. Garett Flesland said of Wednesday’s incident, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
The Hennepin County Crime Lab, Hennepin County Fire Investigation Team, Minnesota State Fire Marshal’s Office, ATF, and FBI are helping with the investigation, the Pioneer Press reports.