The former owner of a bowling alley in southern New Jersey has admitted he orchestrated the arson fire that destroyed a rival alley four years ago.
Steven Smink of Philadelphia pleaded guilty Friday to a charge of arson for hire. The plea came just days before he was due to stand trial on numerous charges stemming from the fire that destroyed Loyle Lanes in Vineland.
Smink ran Loyle Lanes' only competitor - Pike Lanes Family Fun Center in Deerfield, Cumberland County.
Before it burned down in January 2010, Loyle Lanes operated for 50 years in Vineland, N.J.
"It's just beyond our comprehension," owner Charles Loyle told NBC10 after the fire.
Cumberland County prosecutors say Smink faces a 12-year state prison sentence when he's sentenced March 7, and will have to serve five years of probation once he's freed.
In return, prosecutors will move to dismiss charges of aggravated arson, conspiracy to commit arson and two counts of employing a juvenile in commission of a crime.