A disgruntled employee at Camicissima Milano was indicted today in Manhattan Criminal Court on felony charges of arson and reckless endangerment after he allegedly set fire to the Madison Avenue menswear store where he worked, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office announced this afternoon.
James Carter, 34, of the Bronx, is also accused of stealing men’s clothing and a laptop computer from the Italian haberdashery, located on 509 Madison Avenue, the Manhattan DA’s office said.
On May 15 at 8:30 p.m., Mr. Carter allegedly used a lighter to set fire to a cardboard box inside the store, prosecutors said. As the fire spread inside Camicissima Milano, Mr. Carter walked out of the store and locked the door behind him, prosecutors added.
The blaze injured two firefighters and eventually caused more than $1 million-worth of damage to the 23-story, 139,280-square-foot building, which counts The Alec Baldwin Foundation and Tonix Pharmaceuticals as tenants, according to CoStar data.
Mr. Carter was eventually arrested by the NYPD on June 22. In a statement to investigators, Mr. Carter said that he “didn’t care that people were in the building,” according to court documents.
“I had problems with management. I was angry and was having personal problems,” said Mr. Carter in his statement, according to court documents. “I just set the cardboard box on fire and locked the doors, so that no one could get back in,” he added.
In a statement, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said Mr. Carter’s alleged actions showed “reckless disregard for any people who may have been inside, including the brave firefighters who responded to the scene.”
A listed telephone number for Camicissima Milano was not in service Thursday. The store was closed and its windows were boarded up last month, The New York Daily News reports.
It was not immediately clear what would happen to Camicissima Milano’s space.
“There is a contract on the space,” said Alan Zimmerman, a manager at Kensico Properties LLC, the property manager and leasing company for 509 Madison Avenue. He declined to comment any further about the retail space.
Alex Cohen, a senior director at Cushman & Wakefield who is the listed tenant representative for Camicissima Milano, did not return a voicemail requesting comment by press time.
Camicissima Milano’s lease for 1,677-square-foot at 509 Madison Avenue is not set to expire until October 2019, according to CoStar data. The company could not be reached for comment.