Owners of NY music store charged with arson, insurance fraud

JOHNSTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — A married couple who owned a music store and pawn shop in New York's capital region has been charged with burning it down for insurance money after an investigator examining the claim noticed signs of arson.

Gary and Audrey Lane didn't immediately return a call seeking comment Saturday at their Gloversville home following an indictment Friday on charges stemming from the April 10 fire at Dad's Musical Instruments and More in Johnstown, about 45 miles northwest of Albany.

But Fulton County District Attorney Louise K. Sira says the couple filed a $151,000 insurance claim for damaged instruments and destruction to their store shortly after the fire. They weren't paid.

"In approximately five months' time, this investigation was efficiently and thoroughly conducted," he said. Sira wouldn't comment on how the fire was started or the evidence of arson, first spotted by a Travelers Insurance investigator.

No one was injured in the blaze that destroyed the Lane's building, which was once a church built in 1896. It took firefighters six hours to put out the blaze.

Gary Lane, 80, and his 56-year-old wife, Audrey, have been released on $10,000 bond each.

News photographs of the scene following the fire show neighbors pulling blackened and charred guitars from the rubble.

"It's a total loss," Gary Lane told The Daily Gazette then, adding the store had between $250,000 and $300,000 in inventory at the time of the fire.

If convicted, Gary and Audrey Lane each face between five and 15 years in prison on each felony count.