A renowned wine expert has been arrested, charged with setting three fires in Manhattan — two of them to outdoor dining structures, according to the FDNY.
The FDNY released two videos that it says show Caleb Ganzer, 35, lighting an outdoor dining structure at a pizza restaurant on fire and walking away on July 13.
After Ganzer’s arrest and further investigation, FDNY Fire Marshals found a connection to two earlier fires in lower Manhattan that followed the same pattern, Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said in a news release.
On June 26 Ganzer lit a pile of rubbish at a street corner on fire and on January 8 he lit another outdoor dining structure at Forsythia NYC on fire, the FDNY said.
The FDNY did not provide a motive.
It’s not clear if Ganzer has an attorney and he has not responded to CNN’s request for comment.
Ganzer is one of the managing partners at Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels, a wine bar in Lower Manhattan.
In a statement to CNN Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels said they are aware of the incident and that Ganzer is on a leave of absence, but wouldn’t comment further.
Jacob Siwak, executive chef and owner of Forsythia NYC, in a statement to CNN called the arrest “disappointing and frustrating.”
“I opened Forsythia to create a fundamentally different restaurant – one predicated upon kindness, compassion, and empathy, both for each other and for our guests,” Siwak said.
Ganzer is being charged with two counts of third-degree arson; two counts of third-degree criminal mischief; and three counts of second-degree reckless endangerment, according to the FDNY. The case will be prosecuted by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
“Every act of arson has the potential to spread rapidly, endangering the lives of New Yorkers and FDNY members,” Nigro said. “Thankfully in these incidents there were no injuries and the suspect has been apprehended before another fire could be set.”
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