78-Year-Old San Pedro Man Charged With Arson in Elks Lodge Fire
A 78-year-old, longtime San Pedro resident was charged Thursday with arson and other criminal counts in a fire that destroyed the historic Elks Lodge.
Nick Pecarich was charged with one count each of arson of a structure, grand theft of personal property, second-degree commercial burglary and grand theft auto, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
He also was charged with two counts of vandalism for damages of more than $400.
The 40,000 square-foot San Pedro Elks Lodge in the 1700 block of West Cumbre Drive erupted into flames in the early morning hours on April 15.
Pecarich was due for arraignment in Long Beach Superior Court on Thursday afternoon. Prosecutors planned to ask that bail be set at $675,000.
Pecarich faces up to 13 years in state prison if convicted as charged.
He was reportedly a member of the Elks Lodge and had had a disagreement on the premises that preceded the blaze.
The owner of a nearby gas station said an employee saw Pecarich purchase a lighter and fill a canister with gasoline before the fire.
Pecarich was allegedly implicated in several other destructive acts in the Harbor Area community in the weeks before the fire, the Daily Breeze reported. His arraignment was delayed until May 9, the newspaper stated.