Photo via Wikimedia Commons.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

An 81-year-old man accused of setting a fire that severely damaged the Elks Lodge in San Pedro has been placed under a conservatorship, resulting in the dismissal Wednesday of the criminal case filed against him more than two years ago.

Nick Pecarich of San Pedro has “been judged to be gravely disabled and unlikely to ever regain competence to stand trial,” said Jane Robison of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

The prosecution can refile the case if Pecarich is determined to be competent in the future, according to Robison. He will otherwise remain under the conservatorship and will be placed in a suitable care facility, she said.

Pecarich was charged in May 2014 with one count each of arson of a structure, grand theft of personal property, second-degree commercial burglary and grand theft auto, along with two counts of vandalism.

The April 15, 2014, fire caused more than $3.2 million in damage to the Elks Lodge, which is located atop a hill overlooking San Pedro Harbor.

The bulk of the 35,000-square-foot, two-story lodge was destroyed in the fire, with the exception of an area used for gatherings and rituals.

Fire officials noted that another blaze was set outside the building earlier that week, adding to initial suspicion that the lodge blaze was intentionally set.

The lodge was built on an 11-acre hilltop site in 1967 at a cost of $648,000. Its fittings included chandeliers and stained glass windows from the original building, which was built in 1911.

–City News Service 

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