Independence Police are investigating a possible arson attempt after a stolen vehicle crashed and burned at Little Richard’s restaurant Monday evening, causing minor damage to the building.


Police said they were called to the restaurant just off Missouri 291 to assist firefighters, as it appeared a white Ford van had been intentionally driven into the front left corner of the restaurant and set on fire. The vehicle was loaded with pallets, a mattress and other items and was on fire when firefighters arrived, and they extinguished the blaze before it caused further damage to the building. The van had been stolen out of northern Kansas City, police said.


Restaurant owner Richard Cash said he had closed the business, following a few days of pick-up orders, but plans to reopen when the pandemic ends. Cash had donated his food inventory to his employees and was doing some remodeling work inside. The fire, he said, just “simmered some wood” on the front corner of the building.


Cash said a passerby who saw the initial scene told him it appeared the van had an intoxicated driver at the wheel when it crashed into a steel bollard just outside the building.