Baton Rouge man booked with arson in fires at his restaurants - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Baton Rouge man booked with arson in fires at his restaurants

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Image Credit: MGN Online Image Credit: MGN Online

State Fire Marshal investigators have arrested a Baton Rouge businessman in connection with arsons at two of his restaurants. 

Jonathan Paul Marino, 36, was booked with arson in connection with fires at two restaurants he owns: The Cast Iron Kitchen on Jones Creek Road and the The Italian Bowl in Prairieville. 

The Cast Iron Kitchen burned in March 2017. A firefighter was injured fighting that fire. 

The Italian Bowl burned in 2015. 

Investigators learned about the Prairieville fire while investigating the Baton Rouge Fire, a spokesman for the State Fire Marshal's Office and the St. George Fire Department said. 

Marino is accused of setting the March 2017 fire that heavily damaged the Baton Rouge restaurant and neighboring businesses, and for trying to burn the Prairieville restaurant at least three times, the spokesman said. All of the fires, investigators allege, were set in an attempt to collect insurance money. 

Surveillance video obtained in the Baton Rouge fire show Marino leaving the closed restaurant minutes before smoke began billowing from the building, the spokesman said. Someone passing by saw the smoke and called 911, he said. 

It was a St. George firefighter who was injured; he was in the building trying to put out the fire when the ceiling collapsed.

Investigators also found surveillance video that allegedly showed Marino stealing several items from a nearby Wal-Mart shortly before the fire began. He's also been booked with theft, for that alleged crime, the spokesman said. 

“We have and will continue to aggressively pursue those who seek to defraud insurance companies for financial gain. Their actions victimize every person who lives, visits, works, or does business in this state," State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning, Jr. said.

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