DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of New York

For Immediate Release

Friday, March 9, 2018
Grant C. Jaquith
, United States Attorney
Contact: Michael Barnett

Jury Convicts Schenectady Man of Arson

ALBANY, NEW YORK – A jury today voted to convict Duane Griffin, age 35, of Schenectady, New York, of setting fire to a Union Street building.


The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF). 


The evidence at trial demonstrated that on March 17, 2012, Griffin, while in possession of a hand-held propane torch, climbed the fire escape of the building located at 605 Union Street in Schenectady and entered the building through either a second-story window or doorway.  Once inside the building, Griffin used the torch to set the building on fire.  Griffin then fled the scene in his pick-up truck – which was captured by nearby bank surveillance video.  The resulting fire caused significant structural damage to the building, resulting in a finding that the building was a public safety hazard.  The building was demolished a few days after the fire.


Griffin will be sentenced on July 6, 2018 by United States District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino.  He faces at least 5 years and up to 20 years in prison and up to 3 years of post-imprisonment supervised release. 


This case was investigated by the ATF and Schenectady Fire Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rick Belliss.



New York Field Division