2 men charged in connection with arson at Poncho's restaurant in New Baltimore

Restaurant on Green Street went up in flames on Sunday morning

By Halston Herrera - Digital news editor

NEW BALTIMORE, Mich. - Two men have been arrested and charged in connection with the arson of the popular Poncho's Mexican Restaurant in New Baltimore.

New Baltimore Police Chief Timothy P. Wiley said two men, 28-year-old Joseph Gora and 33-year-old Brian Kanikowski, are in custody. They are both New Baltimore residents.

Gora faces three charges including arson, breaking and entering and receiving and concealing stolen property. Kanikowski is charged with breaking and entering with intent, accessory after the fact to a felony and receiving and concealing stolen property. They were arraigned on Thursday.

Wiley said they don't appear to have any relationship to the owners of the restaurant.

Previous story: Poncho's restaurant fire called arson

A third person, a 44-year-old Dearborn Heights man, was also arrested during the investigation, but Wiley said it was for a separate outstanding warrant. Investigators are still working to determine if the 44-year-old had any connection to the arson.

The restaurant on Green Street went up in flames Sunday morning.

No one was hurt, but the building was severely damaged.

The owner's daughter, Laura Diehl, said her family has been devastated.

"This has affected many people. It has taken away livelihoods from many people," she said.

Wiley himself said he had worked at the restaurant in middle school.

-- Brian Kanikowski and Joseph Gora

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