'This place will burn': 2 Marin Co. businesses receive arson threats over COVID-19 restrictions

Businesses in Forest Knolls and San Rafael were hit with handwritten notes, threatening arson if vaccine protocols don't change.

ByCornell W. Barnard KGO logo
Friday, December 10, 2021
Marin Co. businesses get arson threats over COVID restrictions
Authorities in Marin County are investigating after two businesses received arson threats over their vaccine requirements.

MARIN COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- Police in Marin County are investigating serious threats made against two businesses, which routinely ask for proof of vaccination from its customers.

The businesses were threatened with arson if the COVID-19 restrictions are not eased.

David Wilson was unlocking the door of Papermill Creek Saloon in Forest Knolls. The longtime family-owned bar has been closed since last Friday, when a man wearing a ski mask walked in.

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"The person opened the door and stepped in and through the note down," said Wilson.

The handwritten note said, "If the vaccine passport isn't removed by this time next week, this place will burn."

"A couple of people ran to chase him down but he was young, moving quickly," said Wilson.

The unidentified man got away. The sheriff's department was called.

Wilson says his bar requires customers show proof of vaccination to keep everyone safe.

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"You're going to have a few people who don't like it, but no one has gotten weird like this behind it," he added.

"It's sad someone would come and threaten to burn it down," said Woody Wilson.

The following night, a gym in downtown San Rafael got a similar threat. A note left after closing time on the door of Body Kinetics said, "If the vaccine mandate isn't lifted within one week, this place burns."

Side by side, the handwriting on both notes appears to be similar.

"We don't know the origin of the individual or how they are related to gym, the note will be sent to the lab for forensics," San Rafael Police Sergeant Justin Graham said.

Police are checking surveillance footage.

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Gym members are concerned.

"Not the right move. I understand people get frustrated, it's been a crazy year... Not the right way to go about things, especially when you are threatening a good business trying to survive and do their best," said gym member Chris Campbell.

Police and the sheriff's department are working to see if the threats are related.

The Wilson family says it will keep checking vaccine statuses of its bar customers.

They've posted a $1,000 reward on Facebook in the case.