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UPDATE: Owner of Fat Boys Pizza Sentenced for Arson

UPDATED: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 --- 4:45p.m.

Release from Department of Justice:

Madison, Wis. - John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Thomas L. Matje, 46, of Deforest, Wis., was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb to five years in federal prison for arson. Matje pleaded guilty to this charge on August 2, 2012.

Matje was also ordered to pay $159,818 in restitution to the insurance company of the building owner, as well as two tenants of the building who were displaced by the fire.

On December 27, 2011, Matje started a fire that destroyed Fat Boys Pizza in Lodi, Wis. At the plea hearing, he told Judge Crabb that he used lighter fluid to cause a fire that spread from an electrical outlet in the kitchen of the restaurant. Matje explained that the pizza business he operated was unsuccessful and he wanted to try and “get rid
of it” through the arson.

The charge against Matje was the result of an investigation conducted by the Lodi Police Department; Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation, State Fire Marshal; and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The prosecution of the case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert A. Anderson.

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UPDATED: Thursday, August 2, 2012 --- 5:05p.m.

Release from Department of Justice:

District of Wisconsin, announced that Thomas L. Matje, 46, of Deforest, Wisconsin pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Madison to arson for the December 27, 2011 fire that destroyed Fat Boys Pizza in Lodi, Wisconsin.

During the plea, Matje told U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb that he used lighter fluid to cause a fire that spread from an electrical outlet in the kitchen of the restaurant. Matje explained that the pizza business he operated was unsuccessful and he wanted to try and “get rid of it” through the arson. Judge Crabb scheduled sentencing for October
9, 2012. Matje faces a minimum mandatory term of 5-years in prison to a maximum twenty years, a $250,000 fine, and restitution for losses caused by the fire.

The charges against were the result of an investigation conducted by the Lodi Police Department, the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation, State Fire Marshal, and the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The prosecution of the case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert A. Anderson.

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UPDATED: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 --- 3:40p.m.

Thomas L. Matje, 46, DeForest, Wis., is charged with arson. The indictment alleges that on December 27, 2011, he destroyed by fire a building and personal property known as Fat Boys Pizza, in Lodi, Wis.

If convicted, Matje faces a mandatory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. The charge against him is the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The prosecution of this case has been assigned to Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert A. Anderson.

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UPDATED Wednesday, December 28, 2011--9:30p.m.

LODI--A fire at the Fat Boys Pizza in Lodi caused around $200,000 worth of damage--and law enforcers think the owner may have played a part.

46-year-old Thomas Matje of Deforest was arrested Wednesday and faces charges of arson, attempted arson and multiple counts of recklessly endangering safety.

The owner of another nearby business described the scene when she arrived at her shop yesterday morning: "That's when I saw the burnt items laying on the sidewalk and realized, so then of course I had to walk down and look and I was just astonished that you could not see into his business because it was just black," said Wendy Hunt, the owner of the Lodi Barber Shop. "And you could smell all the char and smoke and it was a sad thing to see."

Hunt says the business will be missed: she says more businesses brings more traffic which helps everybody--and adds that's why she feels sad about the fire at Fat Boys.

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Posted Wednesday, December 28, 2011 --- 4:25 p.m.

From the Office of the Attorney General's Office:

MADISON -- On December 27, 2011, at 12:42 p.m., the Lodi Fire Department responded to a call of a working fire at 133 South Main Street in the City of Lodi. Upon arrival, Fire Department Officials discovered flames in the kitchen area of the Fat Boys Pizza.

The building, which included two occupied apartments, was evacuated and the fire was extinguished quickly. One person was treated by EMS for smoke inhalation. Damage is estimated at approximately $200,000.

The Lodi Police Department, the DOJ-Division of Criminal Investigation, and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives began an investigation of the fire.

The investigation produced evidence showing that the fire had been set intentionally.

The owner of Fat Boys Pizza, 46-year-old Thomas L. Matje of DeForest, was taken into custody on charges of Arson, Attempted Arson and four counts of Recklessly Endangering Safety.

Mr. Matje was arrested this afternoon and taken to the Columbia County Jail.

Other agencies providing assistance at the scene included Lodi Area EMS, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, Lodi Department of Public Works, Lodi Utilities, and the Wisconsin State Patrol.

A defendant enjoys a presumption of innocence. The State must prove its allegations at trial.


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