Aug. 30--WILKES-BARRE -- After being asked to leave a party on July 5, Wayne Tilley Jr. and Jason Lakey went back to Tilley's house and talked about starting a fire, West Pittston police said.
The men soon started fires at 845 and 847 Foundry St. in West Pittston, according to charges against them.
Magisterial District Justice Rick Cronauer arraigned Tilley on Friday on arson charges. He was lodged in Luzerne County Correctional Facility in lieu of $100,00 bail. Police are still looking for Lakey.
According to an affidavit: Tilley, 33, of West Pittston, and Lakey, 28, of West Pittston, were at a party on Luzerne Avenue when the host asked Lakey to leave because he was hitting on married women, according to the affidavit. The men left the party.
Lakey was upset at being asked to leave and used a steak knife to slash the car tires of partygoers' vehicles, according to the affidavit. At Tilley's home, the men started talking about lighting a neighboring home on fire and Lakey said he would do it, according to a witness in the police report. Tilley allegedly gave him a key to the target home. Police said Lakey poured gasoline through 847 Foundry St., lit a fire then used a BB gun to shoot through a door window to add air to the blaze.
The men then pretended to sleep when people knocked on their door yelling that they should call 911, according to court documents.
A state police fire marshal investigating the aftermath of the fire noted that three separately set fires had burned in the double-block home of 845-847 Foundry St. He determined the fires were intentionally set and the arsonist used an accelerant.
In August, Lakey told Tilley's wife that he started a fire at 847 Foundry St. by pouring gasoline on a carpet and Tilley started the fire at 845 Foundry St. because they thought it would be "funny" that police were down the street from the first fire and it would make the police look like "idiots," according to court documents.
After his preliminary arraignment, Tilley said he would plead not guilty to the charges.
"I had nothing to do with it," he said, but did not elaborate.
He faces charges of conspiracy, arson, reckless burning, criminal mischief and burglary, all felonies. He was arraigned on two sets of charges with bail set at $50,000 bail for each set.
Tilley's preliminary hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Sept. 10 in front of Magisterial District Justice Joseph Carmody.
Copyright 2014 - The Citizens' Voice, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.