State Fire Marshal’s Office seeks arson suspect in topless coffee shop case

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AUGUSTA — The State Fire Marshal’s Office says an arrest warrant has been issued for an Augusta man charging him in connection with last year’s fire in Vassalboro that destroyed the Grandview Topless Coffee Shop, according to a release issued Tuesday by the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Fire Marshal Sgt. Kenneth Grimes said his investigators and police are looking for Raymond Bellavance, 49, of 3 Jefferson St.,  who will be charged with arson.

Bellavance was a boyfriend of one of the waitresses.

Grimes said the arrest warrant was issued by Kennebec County Superior Court on Monday and results from a 10-month investigation by the Fire Marshal’s Office and the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office, according to the release.

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The fire on June 3, 2009, destroyed the coffee shop and adjoining apartments. At the time of the fire, one of those apartments was occupied by owner Donald Crabtree and six other family members, including two infants. All escaped without injury. The fire was discovered by a passing ambulance at about 1 a.m.

Bellavance is described as 5 feet, 7 inches tall, weighing 150 pounds with dark hair and numerous tattoos on both arms, the most prominent being a skull on each arm. Anyone with information on Bellavance’s whereabouts is asked to call State Police in Augusta at 624-7076, or 911 on a cell phone.

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