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Suspect in arson arrested after two year investigation

Colonie police announced they have arrested a suspect in an arson dating back two years ago when an off-duty Colonie Police Traffic Investigator's car was set ablaze in front of his home.

Jacob E. Lester, 19, of Cohoes was arrested this morning around 9 a.m., after turning himself in on charges of third degree arson and second degree criminal mischief, both of which are felonies. Lester allegedly lit the investigators 2005 Ford Crown Victoria in front of his home located in the Boght Corners section of town on Aug. 25, 2008.

Police said they were tipped off by a confidential informant in 2008 with information that Lester was involved. But investigators took the next two years to gather enough corroborating evidence to proceed with the case, following numerous leads and conducting interviews before presenting their case to an Albany Grand Jury.

Lester was arraigned this morning and was released on $15,000 bail.

Lieutenant Robert Winn said Lester turned himself in to comply with the regulations set by his bail from a sealed indictment in this case.

A motive for the arson was not provided by Lester, Winn said, but added that he does not believe the investigator whose car was set on fire was the target.

We do not believe that the officer was targeted, Winn said. "Certainly the car was targeted, but the specific officer was not the target of the arson."

He added that the reason the arrest of Lester took two years was because he had "essentially dropped off the face of the earth."

"He was pretty much laying low," Winn said.

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