Portland, Oregon Store Owner Convicted Of Arson

A former Portland grocery store owner was convicted Wednesday afternoon on one count of first-degree arson for torching his business almost two years ago.

The jury remained deadlocked on a second arson charge against Thomas Calkins, owner of Portland's popular Burlingame Grocery. They were ordered by a Multnomah County judge to resume deliberations Tuesday morning on the remaining count.

Calkins showed no emotion as the guilty verdict was read following eight hours of deliberations. His wife, though, broke into tears.

A fuzzy store surveillance tape, recorded shortly before the fire broke out, had been the prosecution's key piece of evidence presented to the jury during the arson trial.

Prosecutors contended Calkins intentionally set the four-alarm blaze on Sept. 18, 2001 that destroyed his store, an adjacent Mexican food restaurant - the Chez Jose Mexican Cafe, and an auto detailing shop. There were no injuries resulting from the blaze, which caused millions of dollars in damage.

A prosecution expert hired to examine the store