A Dane County man has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for an arson fire which destroyed a pizza restaurant he operated. Thomas L. Matje of Deforest was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb. The 46 year-old Matje pleaded guilty to the charge on August 2nd. Matje was also ordered to pay $159,818 in restitution to the insurance company of the building owner, as well as two tenants of the building who were displaced by the fire.
On December 27th, 2011, Matje started a fire that destroyed Fat Boys Pizza in Lodi. At his plea hearing, he told Judge Crabb that he used lighter fluid to cause a blaze which spread from an electrical outlet in the kitchen of the restaurant. Matje explained that the pizza business he operated was unsuccessful and he wanted to try to “get rid of it” through the arson.