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August 25, 2010 - 7:08pm

Trio of 14-year-olds charged with arson in Wiard Plow fire

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, fire, Wiard Plow.

Three 14-year-old boys have been charged with setting the Wiard Plow factory fire, which destroyed a good portion of the historic structure May 8.

wiardfire18a.jpgBecause the boys are juveniles, their names are not being released by law enforcement. Two of the boys face two counts each of arson, 3rd, and the third member of the trio faces one count of arson, 3rd.

The first two boys are accused of starting an early afternoon fire in an abandoned office in the old factory. The 1:40 p.m. fire was quickly extinguished by the Batavia Fire Department after a passerby reported seeing smoke coming from the building before the fire had much chance to spread. 

All three were allegedly involved in starting a second fire in the evening -- reported at 7:40 p.m. --  which quickly engulfed a good portion the structure causing an estimated $288,000 damage.

Lead investigator Det. Kevin Czora along with other members of the Batavia Police Department, the fire department, New York State Fire and the Genesee County District Attorney's Office spent three months building the case against the suspects. Detectives conducted numerous interviews and gathered physical evidence.

The three juveniles, because of their ages, have been referred to Genesee County Family Court to answer the charges.

Besides the arson charges, all three were also charged with burglary, 3rd, criminal mischief, 2nd, and conspiracy, 4th.

For previous coverage, click here.

Greg Siedlecki
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I just hope these parents don't blow this off as a childhood, prank because this will be on their personal records even though they are juveniles. Time to be a parent.
Greg Siedlecki
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** comma was in the wrong spot on my last entry, sorry. PROOF READ, PROOF READ, PROOF READ!
C D
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Greg, you can edit your original comment. Click the edit button near the top of the comment, next to reply.
Janice Stenman
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They will not get off with a slap on the hands.....they can count on doing some lock up for this.
Doug Yeomans
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What about restitution? An insurance company that paid out for damages is passing along those costs to their customers. Sorry boys but if I were king, you'd be working every day after school (after homework is done), every weekend and every moment of your life until those costs plus interest were paid off. After such time you could have your life back to do as you please.
Bea McManis
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Doug, I agree they should be punished. Where did you find out that the building was insured?
Julie A Pappalardo
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and I would bet $ that if the cops checked the bar codes on the bottles of liquor that were found at the scene; the bar codes would come back to Backhoe's. Which would mean that THESE are the kids who vandalized MY building, stole what small amount of liquor was there, and did tons of damage the week before!!! Come ON 14020 Police!! Get em for the charges on MY building!!! I know someone took prints!
Emily Andrews
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I am glad that they have found who did this to such a historical building. I feel bad for the children and their families that they now have to deal with such harsh charges but when you do something like this, it does not just "go away". You will get caught.
John Roach
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Julie, Could the bar codes survive that fire?
Julie A Pappalardo
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They found the liquor bottles BEFORE the fire...when the building was first broken into! I would hope that they would have kept the bottles as evidence.
Julie A Pappalardo
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As a matter of fact, they (the police) also have a pictue of the sneaker print on one of the doors they kicked in!! It's the SAME kids...And they should be charged with the damage that they did to me as well!! They obviously don't have respect (or proper supervision by their parents) for peoples things. Put them in the clink!
Howard B. Owens
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FWIW: There were no liquor bottles in the building after the 1:40 p.m. fire that I saw. Whether the bottles had been there for an earlier incident and then removed, I'd have no way of knowing. I just know I didn't see any liquor bottles when I was in the building between fires, and I think I would have noticed them if they had been there.
John Roach
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Julie, Did you contact the police to see if they are trying to make that connection?
Julie A Pappalardo
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John, I specificly remember reading the liquor bottle thing along with the candles when the first small fire happened....Daily News maybe??...Cause I made a cynicle (imagine that) comment about how the booze HAD to have come from Backhoe's...I boarded up my building right after the vandelism because the Police said FIRE would be next....a week or so later BINGO, they torched the place across the street!!! and, I DO remember mentioning it to Police about the bottles when..... I found a BULLET HOLE in my building's front window!!! Which I find VERY alarming BTW.....
Howard B. Owens
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Julie, only The Batavian covered the first fire. here's our story. No other news outlet had a reporter there or even mentioned it until the second fire. But, you made me look in case I'm not remembering right -- went back through previous coverage. I can't find any place where I mentioned bottles.
Frank Cook
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I work in the Harvester center, and we have had several holes in the front windows over the last couple years (that I've been there) that appear to be bullet holes. They weren't. They're the holes that are made when rocks are kicked up by tractor trailers and hit the windows. I'm not saying that for sure about your window, but for ours that's the answer. Hope that makes you sleep a bit easier at night.
Julie A Pappalardo
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The police took pics of copper from the bullet embedded in the glass...it was high volocity cause the glass blasted really far back into the building... Howard, I wish I could remember where that info came from...I read between ten and fifteen papers a day (obviously not all local)....gets confusing. Maybe one of the firefighters gave me the info??? Or a police officer, I DID get that info though...I am 100 percent sure!
Doug Yeomans
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Posted by Bea McManis on August 26, 2010 - 7:56am Doug, I agree they should be punished. Where did you find out that the building was insured? ---------------- Bea, I'm assuming that if a business is operating, insurance would be mandatory.
Doug Yeomans
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Bea, even if a structure isn't insured (no idea how that's even possible) it belongs to someone and it has value. They should be liable for full restitution to whomever had the financial loss. They should also be responsible for costs incurred by fire and emergency crews. That was my point, really.

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