Arrest made in Reo’s Ribs arson case


Arrest came from citizen who recognized suspect

Suspect police believe started a fire that badly damaged Reo’s Ribs on November 23, 2020 (courtesy PPB)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A suspect accused of starting a fire at Portlands Reo’s Ribs was arrested late Friday, nearly a month after the blaze significantly damaged the Northeast Portland restaurant.

On Saturday, Portland Fire & Rescue tweeted a woman had been apprehended after someone recognized her in a surveillance video that had recently been released:

Jennifer Lynn Cole, 38, was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on an Arson II charge, according to the county’s Sheriff’s Office.

The fire happened in the early morning hours of Nov. 23, at Reo’s Ribs on Northeast Sandy Boulevard in Portland’s Hollywood district. Crews arrived to smoke coming from the back of the building and discovered flames both on the exterior and interior. The blaze was quickly extinguished and no injuries were reported.

Reo’s was destroyed in another fire back in 2017 and reopened after rebuilding. That fire was determined to be accidental, but owner Reo Varnado said at the time he did not believe that.

Reo Varnado is also the uncle of Snoop Dogg, and was on his nephew’s cooking show with Martha Stewart filming a segment at the time of the 2017 fire.

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