Shop Owner Charged With Arson
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The owner of a Jefferson County auto shop pleaded guilty Monday to setting his business on fire. John Lechiara, of DuBois, pleaded guilty to arson, intent to collect insurance reckless burning or exploding, false,fraud incomplete insurance claim and insurance intent to defraud. Lechiara was sentenced to one and a half to three years in a state correctional facility followed by five years of probation. Court documents show Lechiara has been incarcerated in the Jefferson County Jail since March 8th, 2017. He will receive credit for time served. State police said the fire happened on May 4th 2016, around 8:46 p.m. at Bowtie Tires auto shop on North 5th Street in Reynoldsville. Police said that same day, Lechiara went to his insurance company asking to increase his coverage. But after being denied, police said he canceled his policy and switched to a new company. According to court documents, Lechiara's business was struggling financially. Police said months prior to the fire, Penndot suspended his official safety inspector license from March through July of 2016. Police said the suspension would hamper business income.