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An Ohio Nail Salon Owner Had Issues with Another Beauty Business, So She Plotted to Burn Down Her Rivals' Shop

Ohio Salon Owner's Revenge Plot Goes Up in Flames, Sentenced to Prison
Source: U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio

The incendiary device, left, and the device after it had exploded on Feb. 5, 2023 in Monroe, Ohio.

Apr. 28 2024, Published 2:02 p.m. ET

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An Ohio nail salon owner was sentenced to nearly four years in prison for conspiring to plant an incendiary device inside a rival salon to burn it down.

Kim Lien Vu, 46, of Liberty Township, pleaded guilty in September 2023 to conspiring to commit malicious destruction via fire, and was sentenced to 46 months in prison, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Ohio said in a statement.

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Vu developed animosity towards individuals at a competing nail salon, and began hatching a revenge plot with one of her employees in December 2022. Vu and her employee co-defendant, 30-year-old Cierra Marie Bishop of Hamilton, ultimately decided to set the other salon on fire.

Bishop began devising a remote-controlled incendiary device that could set a fire inside a small box. Text messages between the two women refer to the plan as Job 1.

Vu directed a third co-defendant, 19-year-old Makahla Ann Rennick of Hamilton, to make a pedicure appointment at the rival salon, and told her to "Just use another name. Sound white."

On Feb. 5, 2023, Rennick is shown on surveillance footage entering the rival salon for the appointment she made under the name "Katelynn."

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As she can be seen receiving her nail services, Bishop enters and exits the salon, searching for a place to plant the device. After walking toward the restrooms at the back of the salon, she planted the device under a desk before leaving the salon.

Meanwhile, Vu was traveling to or already at a property she owned in Virginia so that she would have an alibi.

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But a salon employee spotted the small box, and noticing that it smelled like gasoline, opened it. The employee saw what appeared to be an explosive device and moved the box outside near the salon's dumpsters. When the employee went back outside later to check on the device, it had caught fire.

The Monroe Police Department and fire department responded to the scene.

All three women were indicted in 2023. Bishop is still awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty.

TMX contributed to this report.


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