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Ex-pizza restaurant owner sentenced to federal prison for arson

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Judges gavel and stryker By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Judges gavel and stryker By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - A man who used to own a pizza restaurant in Lodi has been sentenced to five years in a federal prison for burning it down.

47-year-old Thomas Matje of De Forest told Judge Barbara Crabb he didn’t know what he was thinking – and he would take it back if he could.

Matje was convicted of setting fire to his Fat Boys Pizza restaurant two days after Christmas last year. Residents in two upstairs’ apartments were not injured.

Authorities said he left after starting the fire – but he came back, called 911, and warned the residents about the blaze.

Judge Crabb said the act of arson did not fit with Matje’s character. She said she was required to sentence Matje to 5 years – but without that minimum, Crabb said he could have gotten 3 to 4 years instead.

Crabb also ordered Matje to pay about $160,000 to the insurer of the building’s owner, plus the apartment dwellers. 

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