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 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.
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.
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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.