Police: Woman starts fire in cell at Harrison police station
An 18-year-old woman is accused of starting a fire in a Harrison holding cell Saturday after township police said they arrested her for trying to break into her mother’s apartment.
Police said they received a report around 5:30 a.m. that Syariah Johnson was trying to break into her mother’s apartment in the Sheldon Park public housing complex.
Johnson’s mother told police that Johnson had been “pounding on the door and attempting to climb through the window,” and a door decoration had been thrown onto the front lawn, according to the criminal complaint filed in the case.
Police said they saw Johnson inside a neighbor’s apartment, and her cellphone was near the window they said she was trying to climb through.
The complaint said a tenant of the neighboring apartment was “verbally combative” with police and told officers Johnson wasn’t there and refused to let them inside.
Police eventually got inside that apartment and arrested Johnson. Officers told the tenant she would be charged with hindering apprehension, according to the complaint. She hadn’t been formally charged as of Monday morning, online court records showed.
Harrison police placed Johnson in a cell at the station. While there, the complaint said Johnson used a lighter to light a roll of toilet paper on fire. As officers walked back to the cell, Johnson extinguished the fire with toilet water, the complaint said.
Johnson, who has no permanent address, remained in Allegheny County Jail on Monday on after failing to post $5,000 bail. She faces charges of arson, trespassing, vandalism and criminal mischief, according to court records. A preliminary hearing is set for Oct. 2.
Police said Johnson also was wanted on a warrant out of Jeannette, but the complaint didn’t say why. Jeannette police Chief Shannon Binda didn’t immediately return messages.
Johnson is now banned from Sheldon Park, police said.