Ashland police are still searching for clues as to who might have broken into the former Allyson's of Ashland last weekend and set boxes on fire.

Ashland police are still searching for clues as to who might have broken into the former Allyson's of Ashland last weekend and set boxes on fire.

Ashland police Lt. Corey Falls said someone entered 115 E. Main St. sometime late Sunday night or early Monday morning and set cardboard boxes containing fluorescent lights on fire, burning an inside wall. The fire apparently went out by itself, but a bucket of paint and a container of paint thinner were burned and melted, he said.

"If the flame would have gotten to the paint thinner, I'm sure it would have really accelerated it," Falls said.

Falls said there didn't appear to be a forced entry, and the owner of the building wasn't sure whether the door was locked when the arson occurred. It wasn't discovered until Monday morning.

The contents of the former kitchen store are being liquidated in a warehouse in Medford after owners Lynne Galligan and Steve Holt were foreclosed on in February.

Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc., which called in a $250,000 loan to Allyson's owners after they fell several months behind in payments, will not be able to recoup the loss, SOREDI Executive Director Ron Fox has said.

The deli, wine and kitchenware store had been successful until business plummeted in the economic crash of 2008 and an expansion to Bend failed.

Police said on the night of the arson, someone tried to break into the Ashland Chamber of Commerce across the street at 110 E. Main St. by wedging a metal hanger into the bottom of a door. Two large plants had been moved in front of the main entrance, perhaps to hide the attempt to gain entry, said Falls.

"Both of these were in really close proximity and similar things happened; we'll see if they are connected," Falls said. Officers said a man last seen in the area before both crimes is described as a white male in his early 20s, about 6 feet 5 inches, weighing 200 pounds, with brown hair.

Anyone with information about either case is asked to contact Ashland police at 541-482-5211.

Reach reporter Mandy Valencia at mvalencia@mailtribune.com.