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West Deer man torched neighbor's surveillance camera, police say

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Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, 12:46 a.m.

A 41-year-old West Deer man is accused of telling police he used a torch to burn his neighbor's surveillance camera and part of a garage.

Frank Robert Thompson, of Superior Road, is charged with arson-endangering property and two related charges.West Deer police said the neighbor was not at home and didn't know anything about the damage until police told the neighbor.

Police Chief Jon Lape said officers on patrol got a telephone call from 911 about 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 12 telling them a man was waiting at their station to surrender.

In an affidavit, Thompson told arriving officers that “he had committed arson last night and really needed to go to the Allegheny County Jail.”

Police said the fire was set about 12 hours earlier.

According to the affidavit, Thompson said he set the fire “for the criminal thrill” and he “had nothing against” the owners of the house.Police said Thompson wrote a statement of what happened and asked an officer if what he did was “severe enough” to take him to jail.A victim told police the family was frightened and had never done anything to Thompson.

The victim said it would cost about $1,000 to replace the camera and repair the garage.

In addition to arson, Thompson is charged with causing or risking catastrophe because the small fire could have spread, and criminal mischief.

Thompson is in the county jail in lieu of $50,000 bond pending a preliminary hearing slated for Wednesday before District Judge Suzanne R. Blaschak.

Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4711 or

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