A store manager-turned-arsonist set fire to his exotic pet shop last
week and masked the crime by making the blaze look like the work of an
animal activist group, police said.
Thanh Trinh, 42, of Charlestown, was in the process of buying Boston
Tropical Fish and Reptile when he intentionally set fire to the
Cambridge shop with the help of Zachary Azzam, a 17-year-old Cambridge
resident and Dennis Nickerson, 21, of Somerville, according to the
Middlesex District Attorney's office.
Trinh, Azzam and Nickerson were arrested Friday afternoon and
arraigned in Cambridge District Court. The three men were charged with
willful burning of a building, malicious killing of animals, cruelty
to animals, larceny over $250, and larceny from a building.
Nickerson and Azzam are due back in court on Nov. 6 for a probable
The pet store at 243 Monsignor O'Brien Highway was gutted by several
mysterious fires on Sept. 27 at about 9:50 p.m., killing some of the
exotic pets inside. "No more exploitation of animals" was
spray-painted in black outside the front door.
Police allege that Trinh vandalized the building to make it look
appear that the fire was set by an animal activist group.