Robert Zbikowski, 56, of Mount Holly, and Thomas Giannisis, 51, of Bellmawr, have been arrested and charged in connection with a fire that destroyed the Country Town Diner in Berlin Borough on January 10, 2018.
Berlin Borough Police Department responded to the Country Town Diner for the report of a building fire. Upon completion of the on-scene investigation, a follow-up investigation began with the assistance of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office Arson Unit, the Berlin Fire Marshal, and the New Jersey Division of Fire Safety. During the investigation, it was determined that the fire was started on the second floor of the building towards the rear. Through investigation, Detectives were able to identify one of the suspects, Robert Zbikowski, a friend of the owner of the diner, Thomas Giannisis. Giannisis allegedly hired Zbikowski to set the diner on fire, hoping to collect on an insurance claim.
Robert Zbikowski and Thomas Giannisis were both charged with first-degree Arson for Hire and second-degree Conspiracy to Commit Arson, according to Camden County Prosecutor Mary Eva Colallilo and Berlin Borough Police Chief Michael Miller.
Zbikowski was also charged with second-degree Aggravated Arson and second-degree Creating or Risking Widespread Injury or Damage on February 15, 2018. Giannisis was also charged with second-degree Conspiracy to Create or Risk Widespread Injury or Damage on February 16, 2018.
Robert Zbikowski was remanded to the Camden County Correctional Facility pending a pretrial detention hearing. Under recent Criminal Justice Reform rules, the court may order he be detained or released with conditions.
On February 16th, Giannisis turned himself in to detectives where he was charged and released pending a future court date.
All persons charged with crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court of law.
Released Friday, February 16, 2018.