Convicted Washington Township arsonist accused of disabling locks
A convicted arsonist released from prison in August is accused of using plumber's putty late Thursday or early Friday to disable locks at the office of Washington Township's District Judge Jason Buczak.
Mark Eric Rowley, 49, of Washington Township was charged Friday with institutional vandalism, criminal mischief and retaliation against a prosecutor or judicial official.
In addition to using the putty, he allegedly took a court garbage can and dumped its contents on a vehicle in the magistrate's parking lot.
Police said the vehicle belongs to someone not associated with the court.
Rowley served a lengthy prison sentence for starting a million-dollar fire at Saul's Lumber and other fires in Washington Township in a six-month period in 1985, and setting fire to four vehicles and an apartment in Tarentum.
In June 1986, when he was in the Westmoreland County jail accused of making telephone bomb threats, Rowley cut his wrists slightly with a hidden razor blade while left alone in a district court holding room.
On Friday, police said Buczak called them at about 8:30 a.m. to report the damage and express concern for his staff's safety.
Police searched the building and court property. Westmoreland County maintenance employees replaced the locks.
Township police Chief Scott Slagle said the building is covered by surveillance cameras, and police say they recognized Rowley.
On Friday afternoon, another district judge released Rowley pending trial in lieu of unsecured bond.
Don Heagy, special courts administrator for the county, said he was going to contact the former district judge to tell her about the incident.
A state Department of Corrections spokeswoman said Rowley, who turns 50 next week, was released from custody in August. In March 1987, Rowley began serving a 13- to 26-year sentence for arson.He was sent to a community corrections center in 2007 and then paroled. But he was returned to prison in July 2010 for violating parole terms. He was released on Aug. 17.
Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Out-of-control car strikes four vehicles, building in Verona
- Allegheny Township home destroyed by fire
- New Kensington Council names new police chief
- Experts calling for late fall foliage bloom in Southwestern Pa.
- ATI claims operations, production meet expectations; workers refute statement
- ‘Restaurant: Impossible’ tackles New Kensington eatery
- Man found dead along Kiski Township trail
- Upper Burrell to review minimum distance between homes, gas wells
- Vandergrift, East Vandergrift sewer separation projects near completion
- Kiski Valley Water Pollution Control Authority to charge new sewage customers $510
- Avonmore man dies in head-on crash in Washington Township