||[Aug. 12th, 2006|04:01 am]
TERROR RETURNS TO KNOCKTURN ALLEY|
Bizarre attack leaves store owners in limbo
By Lee Jordan
Shop owners on Knockturn Alley were asked to return to their places of business after an incendiary device exploded on Friday night.
The shopfront of Per Saltire & Bend Sinister at the far end of Knockturn Alley was nearly burnt to the ground, with surrounding businesses suffering smoke and water damage.
The fire was discovered after Mr Borgin, of Borgin and Burkes had alerted Ministry officials to a man breaking into the genealogists' shop and setting it on fire.
David Murphy, 37, of Bristol was arrested after a brief struggle with Aurors. A Muggleborn wizard, he faces charges of burglary, arson and conspiracy to commit terrorist acts.
The owners, meanwhile, face a myriad of questions and a lengthy list of repairs because of the bizarre attack. Murphy, who carried with him a case of Molotov cocktails, is unknown to them.
Claudius Saltire, a skilled craftsman and weaver, said he and his business partner Alois Sinister rushed to the scene and saw police pulling the petrol-filled bottles from the case. Messrs Saltire and Sinister said Aurors told them the man wore a Muggle suit and tie. He also had a list of other stores he planned to hit, the two said.
"One fellow down the Alley asked me if we planned to have more security for the shop, but how do you plan against Mudbloods with firebombs and a pipe?" Sinister said. "This isn't the Muggle world."
Saltire and his partner were at the still-smouldering store to survey the damage. The shopfront, where the gentlemen research wizarding ancestry and create family tapestries, was destroyed. The workroom in the back of the shop suffered the most damage; apart from the fire, Murphy allegedly smashed what he could with his pipe before attempting to flee.
"Somehow, the smashing part just makes it seem more vindictive," Saltire said. "It's almost like it's a hate crime."
The charred and shattered remains of works by the owners lay in a reeking heap just inside the store.
"It's easy to feel picked upon, but the thing that bothers me the most about it that those responsible have absolutely nothing to offer the Wizarding world and are only seeking to drag us backwards," Sinister said.
Friday's incident will keep the store closed for a time, but the owners have no plans to move. They said they will continue working on commissioned projects elsewhere until they can reopen.
Murphy refuses to speak to Aurors and the Department of Magical Law Enforcement is currently seeking permission to use Veritaserum.
Ministry officials declined to comment when asked if this attack was connected to the other two arson cases this year.