Jailed getaway driver arrested in 2011 arson case

Norwich - Police arrested a man already serving time for his role as a getaway driver in a 2010 bank robbery for allegedly setting an apartment building at 143-145 Rockwell St. on fire.

Marwan O. Chankar, 36, was charged with first-degree arson, first-degree burglary and first-degree criminal mischief.

Police said the July 9, 2011, fire caused about $400,000 in damage and displaced about 10 residents. Five of the city's fire departments responded to the large blaze, which injured two firefighters.

A warrant for Chankar's arrest was obtained after a lengthy investigation by members of the Norwich Fire Marshal's Office, the Connecticut State Police Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit and the Norwich Police Department, which found the fire was incendiary in nature. Norwich Police Officer Robert Smith and Detective Trooper Wayne Opdenbrouw of the Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit were the lead investigators.

Chankar is serving a 58-month prison sentence after pleading guilty in December 2011 for serving as a getaway driver in the robberies of the Dime Savings Bank and Core Plus Credit Union, both in Norwich, in the fall of 2010.

Chankar was arraigned today in Norwich Superior Court and was held on an additional $250,000 bond.

No additional arrests are anticipated.

Anyone with information regarding arson fires can call the Norwich Police Department's Tip Line at 860-886-5561, extension 500, or the Connecticut Arson Hot Line at 800-84ARSON.


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