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3 HELD IN PLOT TO TORCH RIVAL EATERY

Three diner owners have been charged with hiring someone to set a rival establishment on fire, authorities said.

According to authorities, Duncan's Dairy Bar in Troy was scheduled to be burned down at 12 a.m. Wednesday. Except the man who received a $2,000 down payment for the $7,000 job foiled the plot by tipping off police.

The owners of Collar City Diner, located across the street from Duncan's, were arrested and charged with concocting the plot. Ioannis Pilarinos, 41; his uncle, Dennis Pilarinos, 48; and Sam Athanasiou, 48, all face federal charges of attempted arson of a building used in interstate commerce.

"The motive behind the whole plot was greed," Albany County Sheriff James Campbell said. "They wanted to increase their own business."

Joseph Clark, 46, of Westerlo was chosen to carry out the plan. But Clark, who already faced criminal charges for allegedly dismantling cars for their parts, decided to turn the diner owners in, police said.

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