NYC man arrested for setting Asian restaurant on fire over botched dish released a day later

  • Choephel Norbu, 49, admitted to setting Ittadi Garden and Grill in Jackson Heights, Queens, ablaze on the morning of Oct. 2 after the Bangladeshi restaurant’s staff allegedly botched his chicken biryani the night before.
  • Surveillance footage shows Norbu dousing the restaurant’s front with gasoline, setting it on fire and then catching some of the flames himself.
  • Norbu was arrested on Oct. 14 for arson, criminal mischief and reckless endangerment.
  • The following day, he was freed on supervised release for free as his charges do not require bail under New York’s criminal justice reform.
  • The decision has reportedly frustrated police officers who worked alongside fire marshals for nearly two weeks to track down Norbu.

A Queens man whom officers spent nearly two weeks tracking down has been released just one day after his arrest for setting a local Asian restaurant on fire.

Choephel Norbu, 49, admitted to setting Ittadi Garden and Grill in Jackson Heights ablaze on the morning of Oct. 2 after the Bangladeshi restaurant’s staff allegedly botched his order the night before.

“I was very drunk. I bought chicken biryani. They didn’t give me chicken biryani. I was mad, and I threw it out,” Norbu told police following his arrest, according to the New York Post.

Norbu reportedly returned to the restaurant at around 6 a.m. Surveillance footage shows him dousing its front with gasoline, setting it on fire and then catching some of the flames himself.

“I bought a gas can, and I threw it at the store to try to burn it out. I lit it up, and boom, it got on me,” Norbu was quoted as saying.

While no one inside the restaurant was injured in the fire, the business suffered over $1,500 in damages, according to prosecutors.

Norbu was arrested on Friday for arson, criminal mischief and reckless endangerment, according to the New York City Fire Department. But because those charges do not require bail under New York’s criminal justice reform, Norbu was released for free.

The Queens District Attorney’s Office reportedly asked to put Norbu on supervised release, which the judge granted. He has no prior criminal record.

His recent release has reportedly frustrated police officers who worked alongside fire marshals for nearly two weeks to track down the arsonist. “He sets a store on fire, he planned this, why is he out the next day?” one officer told the New York Post.

Following the news of Norbu’s arrest, netizens took to social media to mock New York’s bail reform.

“$40 bail personal recognizance,” one Instagram user suspected.

Another user wrote, “He’s probably out already for good behavior.”

“Probably out an hour after his arrest. Was he a ‘new American’ I wonder?” another asked.

Meanwhile, someone pleaded, “Please don’t let this guy out, he’s a danger to our community.”

Featured Image via New York City Fire Department

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