Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Pottsville Police Charge Man with Arson

Pottsville police have charged a city man with arson.

According to Police Chief Richard Wojciechowsky, on Sunday January 12, 2020 around 11:00pm, Pottsville Police were dispatched to 406 W Arch St. to assist with smoke in the building and a reported fire at the residence.

Upon arrival, Officers observed that the address was a multi-unit residential building. Two adults and two juveniles -ages 14 and 6 years old- safely exited the second-floor apartment through a rear door. 

Fire Chief James Misstishin, advised police that he had discovered that the front door of the building had been screwed shut and officers had to gain access to the first floor apartment by breaking the front door. Inside officers observed smoke on the first floor and removed and detained the only occupant of the first-floor apartment, Dale Roy Steffie, 59, of Pottsville. Inside that apartment, police and fire personnel observed a large burn mark in the corner of the front room and a melting hole into a plastic crate, gallon jug, and through the carpet to the floor. 

Further Investigation by Misstishin, fire personnel and police indicated that the origin of the fire was not in an electrical area and that the fire had been ignited in an area under circumstances where and when there should not have been any natural cause for a fire. Officers also observed items of drug paraphernalia in the same room that the fire occurred.

The second-floor residents collectively reported that Steffie had been making statements that he wanted to physically harm them. More specifically, Steffie had been threatening to turn off their heat and electric and Steffie told them several times to go to sleep because he was going to set the building on fire.

Steffie was transported form the scene to Pottsville City Hall. While being placed into a temporary holding cell, Steffie defecated and proceeded to repeatedly throw his feces at officers.

The results of the joint investigation showed that Steffie did intentionally start a fire with the purpose of destroying or damaging an inhabited building or occupied structure. 

In doing so, he recklessly created a risk of catastrophe in the employment of fire. 

Furthermore, Steffie did place persons in danger of death or serious bodily injury by creating a fire in an occupied structure and he did intend to cause substantial harm or serious inconvenience by creating a fire in a structure while being in the possession of drug paraphernalia. 

Finally, Steffie did intentionally cause human excrement to come in direct contact with law enforcement officers.

Based on the above stated facts a criminal complaint was prepared by PTL. Lynnsay Bauman charging Steffie with Felony Arson, Aggravated harassment, Risk of catastrophe, Reckless endangerment, Persistent disorderly conduct, and Possession of drug paraphernalia.

Steffie was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Ferrier who set bail at $25,000 cash and Steffie was then placed into confinement at the Schuylkill County Prison.

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