ROCKLAND — A 63-year-old serial arsonist who served prison time for destroying the former Grapes Restaurant in 2004 is back in jail for violating his probation.

John M. Moody, who now lives in the western Maine town of Canaan, was sentenced Wednesday in Knox County Unified Court in Rockland to six months in jail for possessing six lighters.

Moody is barred from having any incendiary devices as terms of his probation. He was convicted for arson in the Christmas Eve fire that destroyed the restaurant.

He was sentenced to 20 years in prison with all but eight years suspended. He was also ordered to be on probation for six years upon his release. He was released from the Maine State Prison in August 2011.

Moody admitted to investigators that he poured paint thinner on the restaurant, lit the fire and then went home and cried. He also admitted to investigators that he set a fire earlier in 2004 to two dumpsters behind Rock Coast Sports, a portable toilet on Winter Street, and a house on Orange Street that was being renovated.

He unsuccessfully sought upon his release to have his probation amended to allow him to smoke.

On March 8, Moody’s probation officer checked on Moody at his home and found him with six lighters.

He is serving the sentence in the Knox County Jail in Rockland.

Moody, who was born in Vinalhaven, has a string of arson convictions dating back to the mid-1970s in Massachusetts. When he was arrested for the Grapes fire, he admitted to setting other fires in Maine including in Portland, Standish, Swanville, Rockland in 1999, Warren, Augusta and Sidney, according to police.

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