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Man Guilty of Throwing Molotov Cocktail Inside Irvington Township Go-Go Bar

Irvington Township

Newark -- Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens, II, announced today that an Essex County jury has convicted Steve Cotto, 61, of Irvington, of aggravated arson following a trial before the Honorable Siobhan Teare, Judge of the Superior Court.

According to Assistant Prosecutor Sean Dickson, who tried the case, with Assistant Prosecutor Brian Olsen, on July 17, 2016, the Irvington Police and Fire Departments responded to the Paradizio Gentlemen’s Club located in the 1000 block of Clinton Avenue in Irvington on reports of a fire.

After the blaze was extinguished, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Crash and Fire Unit was called in to investigate due to the suspicious nature of the fire. Following an investigation, it was determined that a patron of the club had set fire to the structure by throwing Molotov cocktails and a gas can into the building.

It was later determined that the man set fire to the club was Steve Cotto, who had been seen leaving the club earlier that evening. While being questioned about the fire the defendant accused the club of robbing other patrons. The state’s theory at trial was that he believed he had been robbed.

An Essex County jury found the defendant guilty. Sentencing for Cotto is scheduled for April 12, 2019.

“Thanks to the quick action of law enforcement this fire was contained before it spread to nearby residential properties,” said Assistant Prosecutor Sean Dickson.

The defendant faces a minimum of 5 years in New Jersey State Prison. He must serve 85 percent of his sentence before he is eligible for parole.