Chicago Pizzeria Owner Accused of Arson for Insurance Payout

September 15, 2008

The owner of a Chicago pizzeria has been charged with allegedly hiring a street gang to set fire in 2000 to a building he owned to collect on the insurance.

Robert Didiana, owner of the Bacci pizzeria chain, was arrested after he responded to a request to drop by the Chicago police bomb and arson squad to discuss the fire that damaged a building he owned.

Didiana is charged with two counts of aggravated arson. The restaurateur was released from the Cook County Jail on $150,000 bail.

Authorities said Didiana collected about $250,000 in an insurance settlement from the fire.

Authorities say agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had been building a case against Didiana for five years after a street gang member was arrested on a federal weapons charge and offered information about restauranteur.

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