The former owner of a Beverly Hills antique clothing boutique and an employee have been found guilty of setting a 1984 fire that caused an estimated $6.5 million in damage to the office building in which the shop was located.
Diane Candoli, 53, of Los Angeles and Angel Georigrev Vultchev, 30, of West Los Angeles were convicted by a U.S. District Court jury of setting the blaze in the store on North Bedford Drive to collect $50,000 in insurance.
Candoli, Vultchev and a third man, Steve Kostov, 29, were indicted by a federal grand jury in 1986. The indictment was based on evidence gathered during a two-year investigation by a team of federal arson specialists, the Beverly Hills Police Department and the Beverly Hills Fire Department.
Kostov, who was in Mexico when the indictment was handed down, was captured Monday as he attempted to cross the border from Texas into Mexico, said Assistant U.S. Atty. Nancy Wieben Stock. Kostov is expected to be returned to Los Angeles in about a week, she said.
Vultchev failed to appear in court Jan. 28 during the final week of the monthlong trial. He was convicted in absentia and is still at large.
Sentencing for Candoli is set for March 12 before U.S. District Judge Laughlin E. Waters. Stock said Candoli and Vultchev could be sentenced to a maximum of 70 years in prison and fined $47,000.