LEOMINSTER (CBS) — Investigators say another employee helped a restaurant owner set his business on fire.

Police think a gambling and drug problem may have prompted the crime.

Jeff Cordio faced a judge Tuesday after police say he tried to burn down the West End Diner.

Neighborhood surveillance captured the two men entering the diner and scrambling away as smoke began billowing out.

Cordio’s accomplice later went to a Boston hospital with severe burns. He’s said to be cooperating with police.

Firefighters found $4,000 inside the burning restaurant which Cordio admitted was for paying his bookies.

The latest fire has prompted officials to reopen an investigation into a September fire at the same restaurant.

Police say during that fire, they told Cordio he was lucky the windows weren’t open to vent the flames.

During the latest fire, the windows were wide open, fire officials said.

In addition to arson charges, prosecutors charged Cordio with witness interference and obstruction of justice.

They asked for $5,000 bail but the judge released Cordio on his own recognizance.


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