Owner pleads guilty to Lodi pizza restaurant arson

Matje faces a minimum mandatory term of 5 years in prison

A DeForest man pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Madison to arson for the fire that destroyed a Lodi pizza restaurant last year.

Thomas L. Matje, 46, was charged with arson in the Dec. 27, 2011, fire that destroyed Fat Boys Pizza.

During the plea, Matje told U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb that he used lighter fluid to cause a fire that spread from an electrical outlet in the kitchen of the restaurant.

Matje explained that the pizza business he operated was unsuccessful and he wanted to try to “get rid of it” through the arson.

The judge scheduled sentencing for Oct. 9.

Matje faces a minimum mandatory term of five years in prison to a maximum 20 years, a $250,000 fine and restitution for losses caused by the fire.