The owner of Alden's Taxidermy has raised $10,000 to be paid as a reward to anyone who can provide information leading to an arrest in the Dec. 5 arson that destroyed the business, according to the Thurston County Sheriff's Office.
The money has been raised by business owner Alden Johnson, along with his friends and family, Thurston County Sheriff's Sgt. Ray Brady said. The $10,000 private reward is in addition to a $1,000 reward from Thurston County Crime Stoppers, Brady said.
Investigators with the West Thurston Regional Fire Authority reported last week that the sheriff's office is now investigating the Dec. 5 fire as an arson.
Johnson, who has owned the shop on Palmero Drive off Littlerock Road for 38 years, has been devastated by the fire that also killed his Jack Russell Terrier.
"It's just been a living nightmare," Johnson said last week.
Fire investigators determined that taxidermy items, including expensive stuffed game and mounts, were missing from the business after the fire. There should have been evidence of the remains of the taxidermy items, such as bones, but they were gone, West Thurston Regional Fire Authority spokeswoman Lt. Lanette Dyer has said.
The taxidermy items may have been stolen, and the arson set to cover up the theft, she said.
Anyone with information about the arson is encouraged to call Thurston County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS, or the Thurston County Sheriff's detectives division at 360-786-5530.
Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445 firstname.lastname@example.org