The director of security at Yotel hotel in New York has been charged with setting five fires in the building over a two-year period. According to authorities, the 30-year-old man started the small fires in trash bins located in the hallways, emergency exits and stairwells. He is accused of setting the fires with the intention of shutting the hotel down so that he could drink alcohol in his comp room.
The man is also being charged with property crimes for three small fires that he allegedly set while employed at another hotel. While working as a security guard at the Soho Grand Hotel, he allegedly set fires between 2009 and 2010. In addition to lightening his workload, authorities have claimed that the accused man desired negative attention be brought to the hotels.
Charged with arson, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief, the man was held by Manhattan prosecutors on $50,000 bail. According to his defense attorney, no video footage exists that shows the accused man starting the fires. His wife has also offered several statements in his defense, telling reporters that her husband was named the Yotel hotel's 2012 manager of the year. The accused is the father of three children under the age of nine.
Because large hotels normally have many security cameras, it is unusual that no video footage exists of the alleged crimes. While disputing his charges, a defense attorney may wish to gather witnesses who can speak on his behalf. The attorney may be able to assemble a group of coworkers who can testify about his character and conduct while employed at the hotels.
Source: NY Daily News, "Times Square hotel security chief arrested for setting arson fires: FDNY ", Thomas Tracy, September 22, 2013