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Accelerant, open safe found inside The Gun Club

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Ted Sullivan
August 20, 2010
— Investigators found an accelerant and an open safe inside The Gun Club restaurant after it burned down, according to court documents.

An accelerant, believed to be gasoline, was found in the dining room, office and bar area of the restaurant, according to a search warrant filed Tuesday in Rock County Court. Burn patterns also were consistent with accelerant pours.


A bartender working the night of the fire told investigators she closed the bar at midnight and locked all three cash drawers inside the safe, the search warrant states. The owners, Frank and Cindy Dajka, still were at the restaurant with some band members.


Investigators found no sign of forced entry into the building, according to the search warrant.


The owners told investigators they left the restaurant between midnight and 12:30 a.m. and drove to their Rockton, Ill., home, the search warrant states. They said they stayed home until receiving a phone call about the fire.


Frank Dajka told a detective that the restaurant’s liability insurance was going to be canceled Friday, Aug. 13, six days after the fire, because of missed payments in June and July, according to the search warrant. An employee also told investigators the restaurant has had issues with not paying suppliers on time.


Investigators filed the search warrant to review all call records and text messages to and from the Dajkas’ cell phones. They also want to know the locations of the phones.


The search warrant states cell phones are “commonly used by suspects committing crimes to contact co-conspirators or others to facilitate the crime and/or create alibis.”


Rock County Sheriff’s Capt. Todd Christiansen said the fire remains under investigation and wouldn’t say whether investigators have any suspects.


Cindy Dajka told the Gazette on Thursday she couldn’t comment on details of the search warrant because of the ongoing investigation.


“We’re hoping whoever did this will be caught and prosecuted,” she said.


The fire was reported at 5:13 a.m. Aug. 7. The building was destroyed. The damage was estimated at $1 million, and the fire has been declared arson.


The Gun Club was a popular supper club for decades.


A $10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to arrests.



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