KDPS: Man burned down sex shop to eradicate porn

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Kalamazoo police say the suspect who set the fire that destroyed an adult store did it in an effort to eliminate pornography from his neighborhood.

The fire broke out at Hollywood Nights on S. Westnedge near Whites Road late Wednesday afternoon. By the time it was out, the building had been leveled. A man who was seen by witnesses leaving the scene of the fire carrying an ax was later arrested after leading police on a brief car chase and then crashing.

A photo of Mitchel Hapner courtesy the  Allure Salon Professionals website.
(A photo of Mitchell Hapner courtesy the Allure Salon Professionals website.)

Police sources identified the suspect as Mitchell Hapner, 41, of Kalamazoo.

He allegedly admitted to the arson. Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley said the suspect told investigators he was trying to eradicate porn.

A GoFundMe account has been set up for the adult shop and contains a statement apparently from the owners.

“He believed he was serving as god on a mission to not only destroy the business but to murder any employees and customers in the building. Thankfully for weather related reasons we decided to not go into our family business this day,” the statement reads in part. .”Maybe one day we can rebuild our family business again.”

Hapner worked as a hair designer at Allure Salon Professionals, which is about a mile from where Hollywood Nights used to stand. The owner of that shop confirmed he was self-employed there, but declined to talk about him further.

He has only one previous conviction, which was for a misdemeanor assault in 1991.

No one answered the door at his home when 24 Hour News 8 went there Thursday seeking comment.

Hapner is expected to be formally charged on Friday.

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