Heights man charged with arson, larceny

Photo courtesy of the. Farmington Hills Police department . Nicholas Chelar

Photo courtesy of the. Farmington Hills Police department . Nicholas Chelar

Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS — A Dearborn Heights man was arrested and charged with third degree arson and larceny after he allegedly set fire to a projector room inside a Farmington Hills movie theater.

Nicholas Chelar, 24, was arraigned in front of 47th District Court Judge Matthew Friedrich Dec. 21 and placed under a $200,000 bond for third degree arson and larceny in a building.

He is scheduled for a preliminary examination of the evidence against him at 1:30 p.m Dec. 30 in 47th District Court in front of Judge Marla Parker.

Farmington Hills police responded to The Riviera Cinema, 30170 Grand River Ave., about 2 a.m. Dec. 19 on a report of smoke inside the movie theater.

Once on the scene, officers discovered two fires at two separate locations inside a projector room on the second floor.

The smoke from the fires caused the fire alarm to go off and the evacuation of 20 people from the theater.

One of the fires had extinguished on its own, while firefighters put out the fire still burning on a desk inside the room.

The incident occurred during a screening of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” No injuries were reported.

Surveillance video allowed police to identify Chelar and his friends, tracking them to a house in Farmington Hills where Chelar was arrested.

The motive behind the incident is under investigation.

Anyone with information on the incident can call Farmington Hills police at 248-871-2610.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com.)