On October 27, 2023, Eric Reed (DOB: 7/22/87) entered a plea of guilty to one count of Arson in the Third Degree, a Class C Felony, for intentionally setting a building on fire at 671 Mariaville Road in the Town of Rotterdam. Reed will be sentenced on December 19, 2023 and is expected to receive an indeterminate sentence of four (4) to eight (8) years in prison. He also agreed to waive his right to appeal. The plea was presided over by Honorable Matthew J. Sypniewski, Schenectady County Court Judge. The People were represented by the Schenectady County Arson Prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Michael DeMatteo. The defendant was represented by the Chief Public Defender, Stephen Signore.
The investigation began on June 4, 2023, when police and the fire department were called to a fire at the Wagon Train BBQ restaurant at 671 Mariaville Road at approximately 6:00 am. The investigation was conducted as a joint effort between the Rotterdam Police Department, State and County Fire Departments and the ATF. After investigating and analyzing videos, fire investigators were able to determine the fire was intentionally set in a storage shed containing stacks of wood used for the restaurant. Investigators collected camera footage from the restaurant and surrounding area and determined Reed had started the fire after arriving on the property and entering the storage shed earlier that morning. The fire quickly spread to another storage shed and an electrical pole causing power outages in the area. No individuals were injured as a result of the fire but the building suffered extensive damage.
District Attorney Robert Carney said the following about the case, “Our office has a continuing commitment to combat the very serious crime of arson, and this case is yet another example of how effective ADA DeMatteo has been in prosecuting these cases due to his close working relationship with the fire investigators and their police counterparts who function closely as a team in the investigation and prosecution of these crimes.”