The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

February 23, 2013

Cops: Unsuccessful thief lit fires

Shamokin man faces 23 felony counts

By Ashley Wislock
The Daily Item

— SHAMOKIN — A Shamokin man who came up empty in finding something to steal from the abandoned buildings he entered decided to light the structures on fire, according to court documents this week.

James Neidlinger, 21, of East Dewart Street, who was arrested Jan. 28 and charged with setting a fire in the 600 block of Sunbury Street, was charged again Wednesday with setting fires at 717 N. Shamokin St. in September and at 424 and 426 N. Shamokin St. on Jan. 24, according to court documents.

Neidlinger faces an additional 16 felony counts in connection with the two fires. His initial charges included seven felony counts as well as one misdemeanor count of criminal trespass.

Neidlinger was nabbed at the scene of the Jan. 28 fire and has been in Northumberland County Prison since.

Following Neidlinger’s arrest Jan. 28, police said they received a tip that he was involved in the September blaze.

Under questioning, Neidlinger admitted to breaking into the back door of the building and searching for items he could take, police said. Neidlinger then said he lit a stack of papers on fire when he couldn’t find anything to steal, police said.

It was a similar story regarding the fire at 424 and 426 N. Shamokin St., where police received a tip that Neidlinger was seen at the fire, police said.

When questioned, Neidlinger admitted to entering the building to look for things to take, police said. When he didn’t find anything, he sat down and decided to light a fire, police said.