Thursday, January 20, 2022

Officials: Police arrest teen accused of starting fire that destroyed the Essex Card Shop

A teen has been arrested in connection to the fire that destroyed Essex Card Shop at 47 Avenue A on Jan. 10

An FDNY official confirmed the arrest (as well as age and gender) to EVG contributor Stacie Joy. We're told the charges include second-degree arson for the 13-year-old, whose name was not released due to his age. 

Officials and other sources said that the teen was seen leaving the shop minutes before management smelled smoke. Investigators were able to pull photos/videos from the store surveillance camera. 

The fire destroyed Essex Card Shop, which moved here between Third Street and Fourth Street in June 2020 after 20 years on a storefront one block to the south. 

Owner Muhammad Aslam has said he will reopen the business, which has collected more than $65,000 in a crowdfunding effort to help pay for expenses and lost income. 

The fire also temporarily shuttered Downtown Yarns next door.

As previously noted, the stout cement ceiling and brick walls in the storefronts of the 13-floor Ageloff Towers served as a firebreak and prevented further damage to the building and adjacent businesses.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

As bad as the news was of this family's store going up, to find out it was arson is even worse. If convicted I hope he gets thrown in jail for this.

Anonymous said...

I swear kids today are worse than previous generations. Not sure what’s going on but parents need to be held accountable for actions like these as well.

Anonymous said...

You want a 13 year old CHILD to go to jail?! A child starting a fire is not normal, and this kid needs help. Not jail. It’s possible to have compassion for more than one party in this situation, which was completely devastating all around.

Lucas said...

Imagine supporting the card shop and thinking the owners would ever want to put a child in jail. If you’ve ever shopped there you would know they have a personal outspoken philosophy about community, compassion, and love. Tho maybe my packet was missing the section on vengeance.

Christopher Pelham said...

I agree with Anonymous 7:32pm that we shouldn’t be rushing to throw 13 year olds into prison. How many people are going to do well after growing up in prison? Clearly, What happened is very serious and the boy needs some kind of intervention, assuming he set the fire intentionally and wasn’t just smoking in the bathroom and started the fire accidentally (well, that would also call for intervention), but hopefully it can be compassionate and therapeutic.

Anonymous said...

No jail, of course. The child should be required to work for the gutting company and the renovators. It is only by having to help rebuild that he will understand what he has wrought.

Anonymous said...

Exactly what I was thinking. Let this kid work at the store for a year. Hopefully he will learn to love instead of enjoying destroying. Turn a negative into a positive.

Amy Berkov said...

Restorative justice?

Pennys herb co said...

Here is my 2 centsđŸ’„
Have the kid work in the card shop FREE
Until ALL the damaged inventory is paid off and,,,,,,,,l

LWESTER said...

How about community service and he be required to HELP the owners come back... ie stocking, sweeping , cleaning to restore what he damaged. More productive and related to a more positive outcome than rotting and learninf bad tricks in jail.

Anonymous said...

Yup, no kids ever started fires in previous generations.

Anonymous said...

Agh, my heart aches to hear this was arson. Any ideas to help the kid who did it, to not do this stuff?

Anonymous said...

@11:46PM: And your point is?? Are you in FAVOR of kids starting fires?!

My mother vividly remembered the "kid" in her neighborhood who liked to start fires, and that story did not have a good ending. This "kid" will probably just get grounded by the parents (maybe, but grounding is too hard on the *parents* a lot of the time these days, it appears).

I HOPE the kid gets help.

Tom LoCicero said...

My Dear wonderful friend Jay worked in the card shop. A finer man I do not know. I'm sure many of you think as I do "that Jay's kindness spread to all customers". For the simple price of a copy he brought me his wisdom and joy. Be well Jay. I'll miss you, and hope your well. Tom

Anonymous said...

Seriously i cannot wrap my head around the fact that a 13 year old started the fire? Like that is either some serious mental issue, in which case i'm surprised this was the first 'incident'. Or some kind of hate crime, which no i dont like to say, but if its not a severe mental issue, its a intentional attack on member of this community.
I agree that jail will not change this 13 year old, but obviously the kid isnt okay to be roaming around either freely right now. This fire devastated the card shop, but as evgrieve points out, it could have been a lot worse if the building was different and many of our neighbors could have been out of housing or worse.

Anonymous said...

Found the kid. I’m talking about kids today as a whole, who are clueless about their surroundings, others, and will do anything to “go viral.” Have a seat

Scuba Diva said...

At 7:32 PM on January 20, 2022, Anonymous said...

You want a 13 year old CHILD to go to jail?! A child starting a fire is not normal, and this kid needs help. Not jail. It’s possible to have compassion for more than one party in this situation, which was completely devastating all around.

When I was in 4th grade in the 70s, a kid and his friend got a cup of gasoline and dropped a match into it. Kid 1 was unaffected and went on to be a varsity football player; Kid 2 was too close to the explosion, got third-degree facial burns and was a scarred pariah for life.

My point? Pyromania affects all sorts of people, and yes, this kid urgently needs help to prevent something even worse happening in the future.

Giovanni said...

This is a complicated issue, beyond whether a kid should be sent to jail or not. It’s about the nature of good and bad, and the choices we make for ourselves. You can always tell with a kid, especially boys, around the age of 12 which way they are going to go, up or down: some to the streets and the gangs and to prison, and the others to a more normal, crime free life. I look back at all of my childhood friends and it was obvious at that age where they were headed, some to college, others to the school of hard knocks, Rikers Island, eventually graduating to Upstate University a/k/a The Big House.

But 12 years old was the real turning point. It’s when your develop a conscience, or never do, It Is up to that kid, at that age, which way he wants to go. Almost all of the ones who went to the dark side ended up dead or in jail.

One of my best friends who was recently released from prison, after spending half of his adult life behind bars, died suddenly just a few weeks after he got out (this time on a credit card cloning and identity theft scam) from a combination of Covid and his lifelong obesity and poorly treated medical conditions. His friends and family did all they could to keep him off the streets, to help get him the help he needed, jobs, money, friendship and counseling, but every time he went to jail his crimes just escalated, with him finally molesting his own daughter and ending up on the sex offender registry. It was such a waste of a life, and a burden for everyone who knew hm, including the five children he leaves behind.

But one thing I do know is that I felt safer every time he was put behind bars. He set up many of his own friends for burglaries, myself included. He would always deny having anything to do with it and often got away with his crimes. It ls sad that we have jails and prisons, but there are some people that cannot be reformed, who are on a path for life that leads them to victimize countless other people.

I hope this incident somehow turns this kids life around, but how many kids do you know who have burned down a store? He could have killed many people, destroyed a business. He deserves some serious punishment, or else he will never learn.

Anonymous said...

It's so easy to be magnanimous about other people's property. It's so easy to be generous with other people's money. If any one of you who are suggesting that the (accused) arsonist is just troubled and that jail isn't the answer and hey--maybe he should be required to work in the re-opened store (as if)--if any one of you had *your* business or home destroyed by a 13-year-old arsonist, I'd bet you'd be finding it a bit harder to feel as charitably as you do.

k8 said...

I love how people are saying he should work in the shop. I wouldn't want this kid working in my business after he burnt it down. Just saying.... get him in a program for troubled kids and have him clean some garbage off on-ramps in January. Have him tour Rikers for a day.