Mt. Pleasant man, 17-year-old arrested in arson
A 20-year-old Mt. Pleasant man was jailed in lieu of $10,000 bond and a 17-year-old was cited in juvenile court for allegedly setting fire to a maintenance shed at a golf course in Norvelt last month.
George G. Frena of 116 N. Maple St., Mt. Pleasant, was arraigned Wednesday after his arrest by state police at Greensburg on two counts of arson and single counts of corruption of minors and criminal mischief. The juvenile is being adjudicated in juvenile court.
Trooper Kevin Karwatsky said in an affidavit of probable cause that police were assisted by golfers, who photographed the pair with their cellphones as they fled the scene of the daylight fire that was set at 5:40 p.m. Sept. 16.
Karwatsky wrote in the affidavit that during the investigation he discovered that Frena and his juvenile accomplice, who is not identified, were spotted fanning the flames at the shed using toilet paper from an adjoining portable toilet. The golfers told Karwatsky that the arsonists had their bicycles nearby.
The arsonists lied about their actions to the golfers, according to police.
“The two males told the golfers that their uncle owned the golf course and wanted the shelter burned down because a new shelter was going to be built,” Karwatsky said.
Frena and the juvenile are not related to the owner of the golf course, according to authorities.
Karwatsky said the two arsonists then rode away on their bicycles claiming “they were going to get lumber to build the new shelter.”
The golfers subsequently took photographs of the two using cellphone cameras and contacted authorities.
The images were later distributed to the media to help in locating the arsonists.
Karwatsky reported in the affidavit that the break in the case came after the juvenile bragged about the arson to classmates at Mt. Pleasant Area High School.
Frena's hearing is scheduled Thursday.
Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or firstname.lastname@example.org.