One charged in connection with Sunday fire on Corporate Circle

Published 9:00 pm Sunday, February 16, 2020

SALISBURY — Businessman Thomas Miller “Tommy” Cohen, 60, was charged Sunday with a felony burning other buildings, felony breaking and or entering and felony larceny after breaking and or entering in connection to a fire at 823A Corporate Circle.

Cohen, president of J. Newton Cohen Heating and Air Conditioning, is the son of longtime Rowan County commissioner and Chairman J. Newton Cohen. The Rowan County Administrative Building is named after the late county leader.

The Salisbury Fire Department said it responded at 3:12 a.m. Sunday to the fire. There were no injuries and the fire was extinguished within about two hours. There was a large mutual aid response from other departments.

The extent of the damage was not clear.

Warrants for Cohen’s arrest allege he broke into the building at 823 Corporate Circle, though they did not specify the unit number, and stole a “computer CPU” valued at $1,000 and “did willfully and maliciously burn a building within the curtilage of another.”

The charge “burning of other buildings” is contained in state statutes for arson charges. It pertains to items not specifically listed in statutes, including manufactured homes, public buildings, schools, bridges or churches.

Cohen was being held Sunday night on a $75,000 secured bond.

823 Corporate Circle belongs to Clear Choice Investments, which county tax records indicate is located in Granite Quarry. The Salisbury Fire Department said the occupant of 823A is Salisbury Millworks.

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