Award-winning New York sommelier Caleb Ganzer has been charged with arson after allegedly being caught on CCTV setting fire to a dining shelter in Manhattan.
As reported by The Times, 35-year-old Ganzer is alleged to have targeted a wooden structure outside a pizzeria close to La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels, the swish SoHo wine bar he co-owns, which has a sister site in London.
Ganzer, who works as wine director at CVS, is also alleged to have set fire to outdoor dining spaces at other restaurants in New York City.
According to The Times, video footage released by the New York City Fire Department shows a dark-haired man setting fire to two napkin dispensers on Prince Street Pizza’s dining shelter in the early hours of the morning on 13 July.
The New York City Fire Department has link the suspect in the attack to two other fires in lower Manhattan that “fit the same pattern”.
In addition to the Prince Street Pizza attack, Ganzer allegedly set fire to an outdoor dining structure owned by Forsythia Restaurant on Stanton Street on 8 January this year.
The third alleged attack took place on 26 June when a pile of rubbish was set fire to in the early hours of the morning close to La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels.
As reported by Wine Spectator, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has charged Ganzer with two counts of arson, two counts of criminal mischief and three counts of reckless endangerment.
“Every act of arson has the potential to spread rapidly, endangering the lives of New Yorkers and New York Fire Department members.
“Thankfully in these incidents there were no injuries and the suspect has been apprehended before another fire could be set,” New York City fire commissioner, Daniel A. Nigro, said in a statement.
La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels opened in New York’s Nolita neighbourhood in 2014. The bar boasts a list of over 1,000 wines, with a focus on French drops.
Prior to CVS, Ganzer works as a sommelier at Daniel Boulud’s Daniel restaurant and Daniel Humm’s Eleven Madison Park in Manhattan. The New York City Fire Department did not reveal a motive for the acts of arson.