Owner glad arsonist is going to prison

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— Robert Egizii, the owner of the townhome Matthew Hoffman burglarized and burned down, said Friday he was pleased the Ohio man will spend the next few years of his life behind bars.

"I'm glad they put him away. He can't hurt anyone there," Egizii said from Illinois. "But years never fit the crime."

Hoffman torched Egizii's townhome Aug. 28 to cover up his earlier burglary of the home. For his crimes, Hoffman was sentenced to eight years in prison on Friday.

John Shipley, owner of Shipley Johnston Management Inc., which manages The Ridge townhomes, thought Hoffman would get more time behind bars.

"The sentence sounds a little light, but I guess that is why I'm not a judge," Shipley said. "The whole thing is a bad deal."

The Ridge townhomes are in the Burgess Creek area on Storm Meadows Drive. Egizii, who has owned his unit there for about seven years, said Friday he was thankful no one died in the fire.

"Everybody is safe and that is the best part," Egizii said. "But this was such a horrendous thing. He could have killed some people. He was not smart enough to realize that people were in the building.

"You can replace things, but you can't replace lives."

Egizii has been working to get his things in order since the blaze, but he knows his life has not been ruined, only inconvenienced.

"It's his life he messed up," he said of Hoffman. "That is what he should be grateful for: that he only messed up his own life.

"Maybe, he will come out of prison a better person. I don't know."

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