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OWNER CHARGED IN ARSON

SHARE OWNER CHARGED IN ARSON

The owner of an auto repair shop has been charged with aggravated arson in connection with a 1988 fire at his business.

Paul Gasperini, who owned and managed Mr. Brake, 6905 S. State, was charged Wednesday in 3rd Circuit Court with aggravated arson, attempted aggravated arson and insurance fraud stemming from two incidents at the business.On Dec. 15, 1988, a deputy sheriff discovered that a timing device and heating coil had been set to ignite a trail of rags soaked with gasoline inside the business. Gasperini, 39, was the last person to leave the business that day, according to the complaint.

Twelve days later, Salt Lake County firefighters were called to the same business to extinguish a fire. Investigators found the remains of a timing device and heating coil in the blaze and determined that the defendant was the last person to leave the business, court documents state.

Prosecutors said Gasperini had a strong odor of gas on him when he left Mr. Brake two hours before the fire was reported.

Investigators discovered that the defendant was under extreme financial pressure with the business and had difficulty making payments on the business at the time of the fire, which caused extensive damage to the filing cabinet and the records kept in those files. Gasperini filed a proof of loss to collect money from an insurance company, the complaint states.