VINELAND, N.J., Jan. 21 (UPI) -- Police in Vineland, N.J., allege a local bowling alley owner orchestrated an arson attempt to wipe out his only nearby competition.
Vineland Police Lt. Thomas Ulrich said Steven Henry Smink, who operates Pike Lanes Family Fun Center in nearby Deerfield Township, allegedly conspired with two other men to burn down the Loyle Lanes Bowling Center, the Philadelphia Daily News reported Thursday.
While no injuries were reported in the Jan. 11 fire at the Vineland bowling alley, damages were estimated at more than $4 million.
"Arson is arson," Ulrich said. "A firefighter could have been killed in all this."
Smink, along with Alex Antonio Manzano Jr. and an unidentified 17-year-old male, are facing charges of aggravated arson, aggravated arson for hire and conspiracy.
Steve DiDonato, who operates a bowling alley in Hammonton, N.J., told the Daily News the fire at Loyle Lanes likely would not have resulted in a significant increase in business for Smink.
"Some people would have moved, but there would have been a void," DiDonato offered. "In the long run, it would have hurt the game."