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Manager of Competing Video Store booked with torching Mr. Binky’s

Louisiana- Kenner police have arrested the manager of a competing adult video store on charges of torching Mr. Binky’s this week, but stopped short of saying competition between the two stores was the motive.

“We know it was arson, as for the motive, that’s still under investigation,” Kenner Police Chief Steve Caraway said.

Kenner police arrested the store manager, Jesse Acosta, 25, while he was on the job at Paradise Video in Kenner Thursday afternoon. Detectives were seeking an arrest warrant for a second suspect, also a Paradise Video employee, who was badly burned in Tuesday’s fire, said Kenner Police Chief Steve Caraway.

The man, a 25-year-old from Jefferson, is in a burn unit in Baton Rouge, but is expected to recover, Kenner Detective Brian McGregor said. Police are not releasing his name until they receive a warrant for his arrest.

Police believe the men spread an accelerant in several places in the shuttered video store, which was expected to reopen soon, during the early morning hours Tuesday, Caraway said.

No one was there when police and firefighters arrived about 3 a.m. The roof of the steel and cinder-block structure collapsed and most of the interior was destroyed, officials said.

Police were pointed to Acosta and the second man the same day as the fire, Caraway said. Witnesses said they saw “suspicious activity” at Mr. Binky’s before the fire. Police determined that Acosta took the burn victim to a unidentified third party, who took him to East Jefferson General Hospital, while “Acosta fled the area,” Caraway said.

The burn victim later had to be airlifted to Baton Rouge, Caraway said.

Both stores are just north of Louis Armstrong International Airport in south Kenner. Mr. Binky’s is at 96 W. 27th St., and Paradise Video is a couple of blocks south at 41 W. 24th St.

Mr. Binky’s is a 2,400-square-foot, bright blue, two-story building; Paradise Video is a neon-yellow one-story, less than half as big.

Anthony Tusa said Tuesday that he and a co-owner, listed on the secretary of state’s Web site as Dudley Geigerman III, bought the Mr. Binky’s address several months ago and were renovating the building. Geigerman declined to comment Friday.

The business had been closed since Hurricane Katrina. Tusa said renovations were nearly finished and that he planned to rent the building to Mr. Binky’s. He said he owned a limited corporation that owned the building.

Caraway said the Police Department has responded to numerous calls for service at the three adult video stores in the city, including Airline Adult Video off Bainbridge Avenue, ranging from disturbances to robberies to obscenity charges. But he said he’s never had problems of one committing crime upon another.

Jefferson Parish arson investigator Eric Bacon said he called a state fire marshal arson dog to the scene Tuesday after smelling something like gasoline and because investigators were not able to go inside the building for seven or eight hours because it was structurally unsound.

“They determined where to take samples from,” he said. “You want to make sure you get the proper hits.”

He said four samples were taken from different locations in the building, but it will be about a week-and-a-half before the samples come back from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Crime Lab.

At the entrance of Paradise Video, the underaged are warned not to enter: “This store contains sexually explicit material.”

Inside, sex toys occupy the space in front of the cash register, while most of the store is filled with rows of pornographic videos, with titles like “Naughty Nurses,” “California College Student Bodies,” “SheMale Swingers” and “Boys Night Out.”

“You will find pleasure in ‘Paradise’¤” reads a sign in colorful cursive at the back of the store, next to a small room with several smaller rooms with white doors, each with a number.

“Can I preview these?” a man asked at the register Friday, setting a $20 bill and three DVDs on the counter, then going to the back of the store.

A couple blocks away, at the former Mr. Binky’s, yellow crime tape blew in the wind and a charred odor lingered.

Acosta remained in Jefferson Parish Correctional Center Friday afternoon on charges of simple arson. His bond had not been set, officials said.


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