Cocke County restaurant owners arrested, charged in Jan. 2017 attempted arson


NEWPORT, Tenn. (WATE) – A Cocke County grand jury returned indictments on a Newport couple for the January 2017 attempted arson at Brandywine Creek Restaurant.

The couple, Gary and Geraldine Ridens, were arrested and charged with attempted arson and reckless endangerment, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

TBI special agents had joined the Tennessee Fire Investigative Services and the Cocke County Sheriff’s Office in January 2017 for the investigation of an attempted arson at Brandywine Creek Restaurant.

The restaurant is located along West Highway 25/70 in Newport.

The TBI saying Thursday that during the course of the investigation, authorities determined that Gary Ridens, 62, and Geraldine Ridens, 62, the owners of the restaurant, were determined to be responsible for attempting to start the fire.

On Thursday, both were arrested and booked into the Cocke County Jail on a $100,000 bond.

The Cocke County District Attorney, James B. “Jimmy” Dunn, released a statement regarding the Ridenses and how there are additional charges that are pending.

Those additional charges include conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering, conspiracy to commit theft over $10,000, theft over $10,000; along with three counts of conspiracy to commit sales tax fraud, sales tax fraud, conspiracy to evade sales tax, and evading sales tax — all alleged to have occurred between April 2014 and March 2017.

The Ridenses will appear in Cocke County Circuit Court for their arraignment hearings on Monday, Oct. 28 at 9 a.m.

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