Carlisle Police have charged a 41-year-old man in connection with setting multiple fires, including using pieces of an American flag in one of them.
John Mark Petonyak II faces nine counts of arson-related offenses and one count of desecration of flag for trying to ignite a vehicle at a funeral home by using pieces of an American flag stuffed in the fuel filler.
According to a Carlisle Police Department news release, police and firefighters responded to Little Caesars Pizza about 2 a.m. Saturday for a reported dumpster fire that was discovered by state troopers in the area. While on scene, officers discovered an additional fire that was set on a concrete landing in a walkway nearby of the same business complex.
About 20 minutes later, another fire was reported at the Pennsylvania Counseling Services, located at the intersection of Greystone Road and East High Street.
Arriving on the scene, state police and North Middleton Township Police found several large plastic recycling containers on fire next to the building. The fire had spread and caused damage to the structure. Efforts from officers and responding fire departments were able to contain the fire to the exterior of the structure.
An arson investigation conducted by the Carlisle Police determined that these fires were intentionally set.
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A third fire, an attempt to burn a vehicle, was later discovered at Hoffman Funeral Home and Crematory at 2020 West Trindle Road.
Pieces of an American flag were placed into the fuel opening of the vehicle and set on fire. The fire did not spread to the fuel tank.
Surveillance video established a connection with Petonyak and the arsons, police said. Petonyak was taken into custody and later admitted to investigators that he set the fires, according to police. .
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