MOULTON, Ala. (WHNT) - Detra Smith says a national magazine geared towards the fashion and hair styling industry will follow her journey as she rebuilds her business following a series of burglaries, thefts and arson that destroyed the salon she had operated for 11 years.
Smith says she received a phone call the night of June 20th telling her the Hannah & Me Hair Salon, on East Street in Moulton, was on fire. When she went to the scene, she says she assumed it must have been an electrical fire that started near an old refrigerator in the rear of the business. Fire fighters were able to contain the blaze to the back room but the heat and smoke rendered the building and most of its contents unusable.
It wasn't until the next day when a state fire marshal examined the charred remains that the determination was made someone had broken into the business and set the fire in an apparent effort to conceal the break-in. To add insult to injury, police say the thief returned the next night stealing even more items.
"It was strange," Smith said when asked about the series of events. "They didn't steal what you'd think they would get. They took shampoo, tint, even the towels. It was like they were just taking what they'd need to open their own hair salon," she said.
On August 1st, Moulton Police, along with the state fire marshal's office and Moulton Fire Chief Ryan Jolly, arrested Ashley Nicole Liles, 26, of Moulton, and charged her with numerous counts of burglary, theft, arson and obstructing justice. The stolen items were found in her residence just a few short blocks away from the salon. Liles was out of jail on bond stemming from a child abuse charge so she will be held on these latest charges without bond.
Smith was able to reopen the business days after the fire, thanks to the generosity of friends as well as total strangers. Her neighbor provided space in an adjoining business for her to set up shop, and other salons and suppliers rushed in to make sure the temporary facility was ready to greet customers.