PORTLAND (AP) – A 19-year-old man was found guilty Friday in U.S. District Court of the lesser of two charges stemming from a fire that destroyed the Fryeburg Academy gymnasium.

Jurors convicted Maxx Noble of conspiracy but acquitted him of arson. That means the most he faces when he is sentenced is five years. Arson carries a sentence of up to 20 years.

The defense admitted Noble and co-defendant Philip Thibault were at the gym on the night of the fire and that they stole athletic equipment that was later recovered near Noble’s home. But the defense claimed that Noble left before Thibault set the fire.

No one was injured in the fire on Oct. 12, 2005, but it destroyed the $1.7 million recreation complex as well as athletic equipment.

Thibault, who told witnesses he set the fire, was arrested last December in Michigan and pleaded guilty.

Noble was arrested in Florida, where he moved with his mother two months after the fire. He was returned to Maine in January.

Both Thibault and Noble were students at Fryeburg Academy.

Noble did not graduate; Thibault was a 2003 graduate. They’ll be sentenced at a later date.

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