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Man sentenced for torching Burnaby sushi restaurant — twice

Steven Sean Sorenson, 50, has been sentenced to 18 more months in jail and three years of probation for setting fire to two Kingsway restaurants, Jang Mo Jib and Sushi Oyama, in 2020.
arson bail
Emergency crews respond to a fire at the Jang Mo Jib Restaurant on Kingsway on April 11, 2020.

A homeless man who set fire to two Burnaby restaurants – one of them twice – has been sentenced to 18 more months in jail and three years of probation.

A jury found Steven Sean Sorenson, 49, guilty in November of setting fire to Korean restaurant Jang Mo Jib and Sushi Oyama on April 11, 2020.

He had already pleaded guilty to another arson at Sushi Oyama on Nov. 6, 2020.

Combined, the three fires wreaked $571,234 in loss and damages, according to information presented at a sentencing hearing.

The restaurants weren’t occupied at the time of the incidents.

A pre-sentencing report provided the only clues to Sorenson’s motives.

“He was homeless, frustrated, overwhelmed,” said Crown prosecutor Phillip Sebellin, citing a section of the report. “He indicates he did not know how to cope with his circumstances and wanted to teach somebody a lesson … He recognizes his actions were extreme.”

Sorenson, who represented himself through the court process, has been in custody since Jan. 5, 2021.

After time-and-a-half credit for time he’s already served, Sorenson was sentenced on April 21 to 18 more months in jail and three years of probation. 

Arson investigators gathered and reviewed hundreds of hours of surveillance video to identify a suspect, according to a Burnaby RCMP news release.

“This sentencing is the conclusion of a difficult and painstaking investigation…,”said RCMP Sgt. Aly Mohan in the release. “Throughout this investigation, our officers remained dedicated to identifying and locating a suspect and gathering sufficient evidence to secure charges.”