By Diana Bowley, BDN Staff
Bangor Daily News, Thursday, January 29, 2009
DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — A Milo man was indicted Thursday on two counts of arson, and one count each of burglary and theft in connection with a break-in and fire in September that destroyed five downtown Milo businesses and damaged another.
A grand jury sitting in Piscataquis County Superior Court also indicted Christopher M. Miliano, 31, on aggravated assault for an incident involving his girlfriend.
Miliano is charged with breaking into the Hobnobbers Pub, where he allegedly stole some alcohol and then allegedly set fire to the pub to cover the break-in.
The fire moved quickly through the pub and up the street consuming Milo Flower Shop, a former movie theater, Spot Game Room, and Milo True Value Hardware Store along the way. It also heavily damaged Milo House of Pizza.
One of the arson charges dealt with the fire intentionally set at the pub and the other charge was based on the fire endangering the other properties that ultimately burned down.
“The State Fire Marshal’s Office did a very thorough investigation,” Piscataquis County District Attorney R. Christopher Almy said of the case. He said there was a lot of physical evidence collected and it took some time to get the DNA testing results completed at the Maine State Police Crime Laboratory.
Milo Town Manager Jeff Gahagan said Thursday that he and the community appreciated the amount of investigative work done to bring the case to court.
“We were very glad to hear about the indictment,” Gahagan said. “It’s good for the townspeople of Milo and the surrounding area to know that this is going to come to an end and justice will be served. We’re really very, very glad about that.”
Valerie Robertson, who leased the building in which her pub operated, said Thursday that everyone is eager to learn why Miliano did what he did. “I’m just so relieved they have finally charged him,” she said.
Robertson said Shawn Gray, her cook and the upstairs tenant, could have been burned to death in the fire had he not smelled the smoke and investigated the cause.