Man gets five years' prison in nightclub arson attempt

A bouncer from a rival nightclub was sentenced today to five years in federal prison for trying to set a fire at Ground Zero in 2007.

Martin Joseph Angeleas Jr., 25, of Medford, will serve time in federal prison for conspiracy to commit arson. The sentencing was before Judge Owen M. Panner in federal court in Medford.

Angeleas was convicted after a four-day jury trial in April. His two co-conspirators, Christopher Lee Gilbert and Joseph Faaeteete, are still awaiting sentencing.

Medford police determined that the three had schemed to burn down Ground Zero, 123 S. Front St., early in the morning of March 6. Investigators said the trio had stolen three 5-gallon gas cans they thought contained diesel from the back of a parked pickup truck downtown and planned to toss flammable liquid onto the club's roof. The cans actually contained hydraulic fluid.

A private security guard spotted Gilbert crouched behind a garbage bin with two Molotov cocktails made by pouring fuel in liquor bottles and stuffing them with a wick and a 5-gallon gas can. He was arrested and investigators found the additional gas cans at daylight.

Surveillance video showed Angeleas circling the area, then fleeing when the security patrol car arrived.

Angeleas, who was employed at the time as a bouncer for Highwaters, a short-lived downtown club, and Faaeteete turned themselves in later in the week after the plot was foiled.

— Anita Burke

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