Uptown hair salon opens after arsonists strike

It was business as usual, although with some discomfort, for Amir Al-Amiri after his Uptown New Westminster hair salon was struck by an arsonist twice in less than four days.

The shop, Amir Family Hair Salon in the 400 block of Sixth Street, only opened four months ago, Dec. 1. In January he began offering men's hair cuts for as low as $5 and women's for $10. With the discounts business was picking up.

On March 23, however, he was still wiping the sleep from his eyes when New Westminster police called to say there was a fire in his shop. He headed down there to find the window had been busted and a flammable device thrown inside. There was damage to a station, the floor and the ceiling. Al-Amiri called in a clean-up crew and reopened.

But then on Tuesday (March 27) at about 1 a.m., the police awoke him again to say there was another arson. His heart sank to hear it happened again, but he headed off to the shop to find this time the damage was bigger as the arsonists broke all the glass in the shop before firing their flammable devices inside.

But once again, Al-Amiri got it cleaned up and reopened the shop Wednesday.

"I've been very mad and upset," said Al-Amiri, who has been a New Westminster resident since 1996. "I don't know why it would happen two times within five days. I have nothing against anyone. I have no problem with anyone. Why it's happened to me, I don't know ... Maybe the price that we charge. We charge $5 for a haircut, maybe that's why."

Al-Amiri previously owned a shop on Victoria Drive in Vancouver, and currently owns one in Coquitlam as well. But last year he decided to set one up in the city he lives in.

Although he's worried the perpetrators striking again, he felt he had no choice but to reopen because he has a wife and three children.

"I'm not going to give it up. I have to open, I have a family to look after. I've been working hard for this," said Al-Amiri.

Police are asking anyone with information about the arsons to contact Det.-Const. Smith of the major crime unit at 604-529-2533. To remain anonymous call the NWPD's tip line at 604-529-2430 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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