The Belgrade police recently distributed a photo of the supposed suspect in the May 16 arson destruction of the Rocky Mountain Car Wash on Jackrabbit Lane.

Taken off security camera footage, it’s grainy, distant and not very focused – but it is all local investigators have to go on. It shows what appears to be a young man all in black skulking around the almost-completed car wash.

That security picture was broadcast on Bozeman’s KBZK TV last month.

“We got no new leads from that video,” lamented Det. Corey Welch. “Unfortunately, nothing new. No new developments.

“Maybe if the Belgrade News runs it, your readers might recognize someone.”

The fire was reported at 3:30 a.m. that early Sunday morning. The most generic of suspects – someone who had just finished a swing shift at any of the many businesses along that stretch of Jackrabbit Lane – isn’t necessarily who police are seeking, added Welch.

“With summertime tourists, it could have been anyone,” he said.

The car wash would have been the second Montana location for the Wyoming Irwin family who had earlier decided they liked Montana so much they were moving the whole family and their corporate headquarters to Belgrade.

They opened a location in Butte in 2020, after visiting a son who attended Montana Tech. This family business started in Pinedale, Wyo., 20 years ago, and it has eight Wyoming car washes.

The fire did some $750,000 damage, totally gutting the almost-open building.

At the time, Central Valley District Fire Marshall Bruce Hennequin told the Belgrade News that “a pile of boxes, the only combustible thing in the building, was set on fire.”

“We’re devastated. It’s frustrating, actually,” said the owners’ daughter and Operations Manager Taylor Webb. “Right now we’re looking for the silver lining, trying to pick up the pieces. I would say all the words to describe would be disturbing, disgusting and sad.”

The family will actually be much more “behind schedule” than just the almost-year-to-rebuild, Webb continued. It had three years invested into this Belgrade car wash project.

“Construction is the end of the project,” Webb explained.

“We’ve already lost two and a half years. Weeks of research. Getting the land. Water and sewer. Zoning.

“People ask what they can do to help. The best form of support you can give is to give us your business when we open up.”