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Man pleads guilty to trying to burn down a business his father lost

Ryan Smolinski, 26, of Buffalo, pleaded guilty Thursday to arson of a commercial building before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara for throwing gasoline bombs onto the building of a Riverside area business his father recently lost to his former partners.

U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr., said Smolinski faces a federal prison term of up to 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000 when he is sentenced Aug. 27.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward H. White said Smolinski, allegedly after drinking with friends, talked Lowell Carey and a still-unidentified man to help him burn down the building of WNY Property Contractors at 349 Ontario Street last June. Early last June 13, Smolinski, Carey and the other man went to the business and threw one gasoline bomb onto the roof and another at a garage door at the side of the building. They caused $2,207.89 in damages to the building.

Lowell Carey still faces charges in the incident and the third suspect is still unidentified, prosecutors said.