The Fire That Claimed Late Nite Pie Was Arson

Categories: News

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Photo by Andrew Shrewsbury
Late Nite Pie burned nearly to the ground at 4 a.m. on a February morning earlier this year.
When late-night Midtown pizza joint Late Nite Pie burned down in February, our commenters were quick to call foul.

"Two words: Stanky Arson," said commenter LoWest, in a reference to the pizza place's infamous Stanky Whore pizza.

Chimed in commenter Padams below: "Two words: Insurance Fraud. That place has been going downhill for a long time."

As usual, fair readers, your Spidey sense was right: KHOU reported this morning that former manager Raymond Pecher has been charged with arson after investigators found evidence linking him to the fire.

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Photo courtesy of HFD
Raymond Louis Pecher, 45, has been charged with 2nd degree arson.
"The Houston Fire Department determined the cause of the fire to be intentional after identifying four separate origins for the flames, two on the ground floor and two upstairs.
Investigators also found the burned remnants of a plastic gasoline container in the food prep area," said KHOU.

"With the aid of surveillance tape obtained from the neighboring car lot, investigators observed Pecher leaving the restaurant just as smoke began issuing from the west side of the building."

You can read the entire criminal complaint at our sister blog, Hair Balls.

Pecher is currently in custody, held on a $100,000 bond. According to the HFD, its investigators are still actively working the case with hopes of more arrests to follow. I'm betting the Late Nite Pie tip pool won't help them now.



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Location Info

Late Nite Pie

302 Tuam, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


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21 comments
scotter
scotter

I'll bet your newspaper's legal counsel would feel a lot better if the word "allegedly" were in the title of the article.  If Mr. Pecher is not convicted, that could become really important.

TNT
TNT

They should definitely look into the owners paying him to do this.  I use to work there and the owners were so far in debt they could not pay their bills nor their employees. 

Jason
Jason

When I delivered for them for a month they guy across the street kept trying to serve papers to sue the owner, but the owner never once came into the building.  I never even saw or met him.  They didn't pay me because there was a hold on their bank account, so I quit. I'd be surprised if the owner wasn't involved in this.

WhiskeyR
WhiskeyR

If it was the Manager and not the owner who is guilty of the arson then it would be really interesting to know the motives, since unless he was being paid by the owner to set the fire insurance fraud should be out of the mix.

cuppanoodles
cuppanoodles

"Know anything about the restaurant business?"

"He knows everything. He's there day and night. Another fucking few minutes, he could be a stool."

"You want me to be your partner? Is that what you're telling me?"

"What do you think I'm telling you? Paulie, please."

"It's not even fair. You don't understand. You run the joint. Maybe I'll try to help you."

"God bless you, Paulie. You've always been fair with me."

Now he's got Paulie as a partner. Any problems, he goes to Paulie. Trouble with a bill, to Paulie. Trouble with cops, deliveries, Tommy...he calls Paulie. But now he has to pay Paulie every week no matter what.

"Business bad? Fuck you, pay me. Had a fire? Fuck you, pay me."

"The place got hit by lightning? Fuck you, pay me."

Also, Paulie could do anything. Like run up bills on the joint's credit. And why not? Nobody will pay for it anyway.Take deliveries at the front door and sell it out the back at a discount. It doesn't matter. It's all profit.

Then finally, when there's nothing left...when you can't borrow another buck from the bank...

You bust the joint out. You light a match.....

Pie R Square
Pie R Square

does this really surprise anybody after they got caught stealing customer's credit card numbers?

CMN
CMN

Wonder if "what if a firefighter gets hurt, or worse, putting this out" ever crossed this idiot's mind.

Corey
Corey

Long history of this debauchery in Houston, I still remember when Goat Head Soup mysteriously went up in flames.  No business? Time to buy some gasoline!?! From surly to an arsonist, kudos.

Matthew
Matthew

you might say... he's the one who got burned. YYYYYEEEEAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

All we stated is that investigators discovered arson to be the cause of the fire, and that Mr. Pecher was arrested on charges of 2nd degree arson. At no time did we make an assessment of his guilt or innocence.

John O
John O

My first thought exactly...

Brittanie Shey
Brittanie Shey

The Chron story has an odd picture of firefighters wheeling out a pristine-looking Royal Enfield (which I'd never once seen inside the building) and my first thought was "who'd potentially eff up such a bad-ass motorcycle?"

http://blog.chron.com/newswatc...

(This was, of course, after knowing that no one got injured in the fire. My priorities aren't totally whack.)

Megan
Megan

Sunglasses of Snarkiness totally implied there.  LOVE.

scotter
scotter

What do I know.  I've just handled a defamation lawsuit in the Supreme Court of Texas.  Board certified in civil appellate law for over a quarter century.  The title, "The Fire that Claimed Late Night Pie was Arson," really does speak for itself.  But surely you know better than I do.  My mistake.

Megan
Megan

Have to agree with Wyatt - the crime is not in question, unless you can be successful in having a judge throw out the copious amounts of evidence collected at the scene used to determine the cause of the fire and disqualify the arson investigators because they could not be considered "experts" under the Federal Rules of Evidence and Texas Rules of Evidence.  Even you have to know that's a tall order, Counselor.

Wyatt
Wyatt

So if cops/ME/whoever say a death is a murder, reporters still have to say "alleged murder"? I don't think so. Obviously when dealing with suspects it is necessary to use "allegedly" or "charged with," but we're talking about the act here - it, officially, is arson.

DelanoF
DelanoF

 Many lawyers and even litigants before the Supreme Court of Texas are clueless. Two facts: the fire was ruled an arson. The man arrested for this arson was the manager, Raymond Louis Pecher.

An arrest is an arrest, not a conviction. And the story doesn't need to say 'alleged arson' if the body responsible for ruling on the cause of the fire says it was 'arson'.

KeJo
KeJo

so scotter , impressive resume bro.  Did you know that you can be factually correct but still allegedly sound like an alleged douche, allegedly?So if they change the headline are you going to bill them? Or are you going to represent that nice man in the photo?

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