Woman pleads guilty to Monroe nail salon bombing attempt

A woman indicted in February for conspiring to attempting set fire to a Monroe nail salon with intent to destroy the business has admitted guilt in federal court, according to records.

Kim Tien Vu pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati to attempting to commit malicious destruction by fire. She is free until sentencing set for that has not yet been set.

Vu, 45, of Liberty Twp.; Cierra Marie Bishop, 29, of Hamilton and Makahla Ann Rennick, 18, of Hamilton were are accused of initiating an incendiary device at Bora Bora Nail Salon on Hamilton-Lebanon Road (Ohio 63) with the intent of destroying the facility, according to court documents filed in United States District Court Southern District of Ohio as part of charges filed on Feb. 9.

The strip shopping center where the salon is located houses several businesses and restaurants.

It is alleged that Vu enlisted the other two women to build and help plant the device. Ohio Secretary of State records show that Vu owns two nail salons located in West Chester Twp., Allure Nails Vu LLC and Love Nail Vu LLC.

An affidavit filed in support of a criminal complaint states that on Feb. 5, surveillance camera footage shows Bishop and Rennick entering the salon.

Rennick had made an appointment for a pedicure under the name “Katelynn,” allegedly at the direction of Vu, for Rennick to get the latest nail appointment she can and to “Just use another name. Sound white.”

Rennick is shown receiving her nail services.

Bishop allegedly sat near Rennick during the pedicure and is then seen walking toward the rear of the salon holding two white bags. Bishop placed one of the bags behind a desk before leaving the salon.

A salon employee then found the suspected device, which smelled like gasoline. The employee opened the package, seeing that it looked like an explosive device, and took it outside near the salon’s trash dumpsters. The employee later went back outside to check on the device and noticed that it was burning.

Monroe police officers responded to a call reporting a dumpster fire near the salon.

Text messages on Bishop’s and Rennick’s phones show the co-defendants planning the incident for at least one week.

“A preliminary review of the iPhone belonging to Bishop provided evidence that VU enlisted Bishop, with the help of Rennick, to build the incendiary device with a remote ignition and plant the device at the salon on Feb. 5. From the text messages, it appears that the plan was to detonate or ignite the device that evening and destroy the salon. It further appears that this plan between Vu, Bishop and Rennick was referred to in text messages as “Job l,” according to court documents.

Maliciously damaging or destroying property, or attempting to maliciously damage or destroy property, via a fire or explosive device, is a federal crime punishable by a range of five to 20 years in prison. Conspiring to commit malicious destruction via fire is punishable by up to five years in prison.

The women have been released on their own recognizance with electronic monitoring and curfew conditions. Vu was ordered to surrender her passport.

Court records indicate the other women’s cases are still pending and have been set for future change of plea hearing.

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