Arsonist headed to prison

JOHNSTOWN — The man who set the July 13 fire at the former Pan-American Tannery building in Gloversville is headed to state prison for up to four years.

Lincoln J. Flansberg Jr., 44, of 28 Rose St., pleaded guilty Wednesday in Fulton County Court before Judge Polly J. Hoye to one felony count of fourth-degree arson, as part of a plea arrangement.

Sentencing was adjourned until a later date, but he is expected to receive two to four years in state prison as a second felony offender. He may also have to pay an unspecified amount of potential restitution, according to the plea.

Flansburg was a neighbor of the factory at 1 Rose St. that caught fire the night of July 13. He was initially charged July 14 by Gloversville police with fourth-degree arson and first-degree reckless endangerment.

The four-alarm fire caused extensive damage at the former leather mill. Multiple 911 calls at 9:15 p.m. reported the structure fire. Both the Gloversville and Johnstown fire departments responded and encountered a fully-involved structure fire on arrival. Both departments called all hands to the scene and requested mutual aid from area fire stations. Firefighters within roughly one to two hours were able to contain the fire at the mill building as it continued to burn throughout the night. The abandoned building was reduced to rubble.

There was no reported injuries to firefighters or civilians in connection to the fire. The blaze caused some exterior damage to adjacent homes located across the street, with damage limited to melted siding. The fire additionally damaged a pickup truck located nearby. While fire crews battled the blaze, Gloversville police interviewed residents and bystanders in the area to develop information that led to the arrest of Flansberg in connection to the fire.

In other recent County Court cases:

∫ Austin Leon, 22, of Spring Street, Gloversville, was sentenced Wednesday by Hoye to one to three years in state prison, as part of a plea arrangement. Authorities said he was involved in a domestic violence strangulation case.

In addition to the prison time, an order of protection was granted for his victim.

The defendant on Aug. 18 pleaded guilty before Hoye to counts of second-degree attempted strangulation, a felony; and resisting arrest.

The Gloversville Police Department arrested Leon at 8:01 p.m. May 21. He was initially charged with second-degree strangulation, aggravated family offense, resisting arrest, second-degree obstructing governmental administration and third-degree attempted assault.

Officers responded to a physical domestic violence incident in the city during which Leon is accused of striking the victim multiple time and choking the individual with his hands.

According to the New York State Penal Law, a person is guilty of strangulation in the second degree when he or she commits the crime of criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, and thereby causes stupor, loss of consciousness for any period of time, or any other physical injury or impairment.

∫ Christopher Cross, 31, of Clyde Street, Gloversville, was sentenced Tuesday by Hoye to one year in the Fulton County Jail.

The sentence was based on his June 25 guilty plea to two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Cross was arrested Jan. 16.

By Patricia Older