Store Arsonist Pays For Get-Rich-Quick Plot

CLEVELAND – Tuesday was judgment day for the former co-owner of a neighborhood corner store who was found guilty of burning the store down to collect insurance money, Action News' Ed Gallek reported.

The fire at the store left one man dead, and a community terrified.

Arson detectives used a hidden microphone to get to help prove Nasir Muntaser's guilt.

Action News obtained a secret recording revealing the plot to burn down the store that had been located at East 125th Street and Locke Avenue.

Investigators had store manager Ali Alnajada, who was also involved in the plot, wear a wire and tape Muntaser.

Here's a sample of the conversation that was recorded, translated from Arabic:

  • ALNAJADA: "You told me that you would give me $5,000."
    MUNTASER: "I didn't promise you, but I will not only give you $5,000, I'll give you $15,000 when they pay me the insurance."
    ALNAJADA: "I want to leave. I don't want to stay. I got myself involved in a case that I had nothing to do with. I have a family."
    MUNTASER: "But guard the secret."

The daughter of the fire victim told the judge that all her family wants is justice.

"My father, we can't see him anymore, hug him anymore, love him any more, be with him any more," she said.

People who were near the store when it was set afire, including Eddie Brunson, said that they are unable to relax any more.

"I'm lucky to be alive," Brunson said. "I was only about 5 feet away from that explosion sleeping in my bed."

Muntaser's bed will now be behind bars. Judge Nancy McDonnell gave him a sentence of 39 to life. The accomplice who wore the wire is going to prison too, but for only three years.