Marine sentenced for setting fire to Gaslamp restaurant

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SAN DIEGO — A Marine who set a number of small fires in the back of a Gaslamp District restaurant last summer was sentenced Tuesday to nine months in a work furlough program and five years of probation.

Austin Kokin, 21, pleaded guilty in January to a felony arson charge for igniting the series of blazes last Aug. 29 at Blue Point Coastal Cuisine on Fifth Avenue near Market Street.

The fires, which were reported around 1:45 a.m., were quickly doused by the building’s sprinkler system, San Diego Fire-Rescue spokeswoman Monica Munoz said.

Kokin, a Marine Corps corporal, was arrested near the eatery.

Investigators determined that the fires were started in the back of the restaurant, which was closed at the time. Kokin came in through an open door and started vandalizing the eatery before setting the blazes, according to prosecutors. His motive was unclear.

The sprinkler system did not turn off right away and water accumulated in the basement of the business, causing an estimated $25,000 in damage, Munoz said.

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