NY sommelier charged with setting outdoor dining sheds ablaze

File: People eat lunch in a outdoor dining shed in midtown New York City. AFP/Timothy A Clary

NEW YORK - A renowned New York City sommelier has been charged with setting fire to outdoor dining sheds of rival restaurants, authorities said.

Caleb Ganzer was caught on CCTV lighting the wooden structures of two restaurants in separate incidents in January and July, according to the New York Fire Department.

The sheds -- the sort of which have popped up across the streets of the Big Apple during the pandemic -- were damaged but no one was injured, the FDNY added.

Ganzer was also filmed apparently setting fire to a pile of rubbish in June. All three incidents took place between around midnight and 4:30 am.

Ganzer, who was a "Food and Wine" magazine sommelier of the year in 2017, was charged with two felony counts of arson and other crimes, including reckless endangerment.

The FDNY did not suggest a motive for the alleged actions of Ganzer, who is a managing partner at plush New York wine bar Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels.

Ganzer is now on leave of absence, the company told The New York Times.

"Thankfully in these incidents, there were no injuries and the suspect has been apprehended before another fire could be set," said fire commissioner Daniel Nigro.


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