An Oceanside man was charged with arson and reckless endangerment after he allegedly poured gasoline on the floor of a picnic area outside a local pub, and lit it.
According to 4th Squad detectives, at 8 p.m. on Sept. 17, Alec Sapounas, 60, who lives in a garage behind Phat Daddy’s Pub, at 3116 South Long Beach Road, took a gasoline can from a boat stored on the property, poured the accelerant on the floor and set it on fire with a lighter.
According to the police report, the rear door of the bar was open, and Sapounas knew that there were customers inside — approximately 12 people, police said. The fire was extinguished by members of the Ocean-side Fire Department before it reached the building.
A customer who was sitting at the bar the following day, who identified herself only as Kathy, said that she had been there during the incident, and that she was well acquainted with Sapounas.
“He’s been a regular for some time,” she said. “They felt badly because he had no place to live, so they let him use the garage. He had access to both the boat and the back of the pub. God knows why he did it, but I saw the video from the camera in the back, and you could see him light it up and then run away.”
Another customer at the bar, who declined to identify himself, said he had known Sapounas for 30 years, and that he had been in and out of trouble and was homeless when the pub’s owners said they would allow him to sleep in the garage.
That customer said that the people in the pub smelled the gasoline before they smelled smoke or saw the fire. “We called the Fire Department, and they came pretty quickly to put it out,” he said. “The fire did little damage. People knew [Sapounas] was a little off, but they never thought he would do something like that to the pub.”
Sapounas was arrested on Sept. 26, on Hampton Road, by officers from the Nassau County Bureau of Special Operations. He was arraigned in First District Court in Hempstead the following day, and charged with second-degree arson and first-degree reckless endangerment.