USC Student Charged With Salty Nut Fire - DatelineCarolina

Suspected Salty Nut Cafe arsonist is in custody.

USC Student Charged With Salty Nut Fire

Still frame of arsonist from surveillance footage. Still frame of arsonist from surveillance footage.

By: Krista Bagley

A USC student has been arrested and charged with throwing Molotov cocktails on campus and in Five Points.

Columbia Police say 22-year-old Theodore Podewil is the prime suspect of the Salty Nut Cafe fire on January 6, causing $300,000 dollars in damage.

Podewil has been charged with three counts of possession and use of an incendiary device.  He could spend ten to twenty-five years in prison if convicted.   

"We wanted to go after the higher charge other than arson because of the nature of what this person did. So we want to make sure this person you know does not have the opportunity to get out anytime soon," said Columbia-Richland Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins.

Podewil was arrested Tuesday night at his Laurens Street apartment, which is less than a mile from the Salty Nut.  Police say they found bomb-making materials that linked him to the attack, along with five other incidents of arson in the Columbia area.

"He actually broke the window out before he threw the device inside the window. And this past weekend he also committed five more acts that he is being charged with," said Jenkins.

Police say they believe Podewil had plans to carry out more acts of arson.

To see more images from the fire on January 6, you can check out this video on youtube.

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