Drunk customer sets NYC restaurant on fire for screwing up his chicken biryani order: cops

An angry customer drunkenly set fire to a Bangladeshi restaurant in Queens earlier this month because they messed up his order, New York City officials said Monday.

Choephel Norbu, 49, was charged Friday with third-degree arson, second-degree reckless endangerment and second-degree criminal mischief. New York Police Department (NYPD) officers spent over two weeks investigating the case along with fire department officials.

During the investigation, Norbu admitted to starting a fire outside Ittadi Garden and Grill in Jackson Heights on October 2.

Security camera footage shows a man looking suspiciously at his surroundings before pouring a flammable liquid over the Ittadi Garden and Grill's storefront.

Security camera footage shows a man looking suspiciously at his surroundings before pouring a flammable liquid over the Ittadi Garden and Grill’s storefront.
(New York Fire Department (FDNY))

Security camera footage shows a man looking suspiciously at his surroundings before pouring a flammable liquid over the restaurant’s storefront. Seconds later, the suspect crouches down to ignite the fire, causing an explosion.

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The video appears to show the suspect running away with flames on his shoes. The fireball destroyed the restaurant’s glass windows, along with its air conditioner—totaling at least $1,500 in damage.

The fireball destroyed the glass windows of the Bangladeshi restaurant along with its air conditioner.

The fireball destroyed the glass windows of the Bangladeshi restaurant along with its air conditioner.
(New York Fire Department (FDNY))

According to detectives, Norbu claimed he was “very drunk” that night and was upset that he didn’t get the chicken biryani he ordered.

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Norbu, who has no criminal record, was released without bail after arraignment. A spokesman for the Queens County District Attorney explained that third-degree arson does not qualify for bail.

Choephel Norbu, 49, was reportedly angry that the restaurant got his chicken biryani order wrong.

Choephel Norbu, 49, was reportedly angry that the restaurant got his chicken biryani order wrong.
(FOX 5 New York)

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“There were no other reasons to request bail as this was the defendant’s first arrest and there were no open cases against him,” the DA’s spokesperson told FOX 5 New York. “The most that could be sought was the highest level of CJA supervised release, which we requested and secured.”

Norbu is due back in court in December.

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