Man Arrested For Alleged Arson at Walmart

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RUSH TOWNSHIP — Police in part of Schuylkill County made an arrest Tuesday night in an alleged arson at a Walmart.

The fire forced the shutdown of the store near Hometown for more than 13 hours on Tuesday.

Police said Johnathan Maldanado, 20, from Hazleton admitted to starting the fire by lighting a can of Silly String and leaving it on a shelf in the store.

Officers said surveillance pictures showed four people inside the store who they believe set the fire.

So far police have not arrested or charged the other three people shown in the surveillance footage. Police say two of them led them to Maldonado and only he faces any charges for the arson.

The fire was in the home and garden section of Walmart, that section of the store is still closed, but the rest of the Walmart near Hometown is open.


  • Jinet Maldonado

    He is a really good kid,he have a job and he when to school , hes is a lovely boy, but i dont know why he did this and im not saying the i aprove Whatever he did, this stuped action ruin hes live from now on, i dont know what he was thinking, but i do know him and he is not a criminal or a bad person i hope he realize this mistake got some consecuence

  • Danielle

    Why does everyone keep referring to this guy as a “kid”? Last time I checked, 18 years old, you’re referred to as an adult. Being raised in the area my entire life, things like this never happened. Through the years we’ve had all sorts of “riff raff” moving in & they brought all their crime with them. It’s about time people are held accountable for their own stupidity & actions. Throw the book at him & let justice prevail.

    • Sundown

      Not for nothing, you have your own riff-raff here thanks very much and it’s BEEN here for at least 40 years as far as I know!

  • Sundown

    For those of you who affectionately call this a “stupid kid thing,” many of us back when were working full time, parenting full time, or both working and going to school, many 20 yr olds these days act like 15 yr old. It’s ridiculous! He was bored? Lucky a kid wasn’t nearby or anyone else for that matter. This goes beyond stupid, this is destructive and malignant behavior with no regard for others or property that wasn’t theirs to destroy. Let him get away with this, and it’s the beginning of uglier things. Clearly a young fool who needs taught a lesson other than a fine mommy and daddy will pay off. That smirky smug look on his face needs wiped off. Shoul dhe do time? I don’t thing serving time is the answer fo ra young bafoon such as this. I think working like hauling manure for a few months or something like that WITHOUT pay might do the trick.

    • Sundown

      3 hots and a cot…but on a farm, or in an American factory…then will we become china?! lol! well, it was a thought..something needs done with these guys, I just went thru this for the last 7 years with the likes of’s all over now!

    • jim

      Payback, stupid justification, immature reaction. Maybe realistic the way people think but if they dont want you there must be a reason? Still no matter what he case, he needs hung out to dry.

  • ryry

    Walmart will probably want lost profit for those 13 hours, the total amount of money spent at Walmart every hour of every day is $36,000,000. So 13 hours of one store not making money is probably more than 30K.

    • jim

      Whether Walmart wants to recover funds or not. In the simplest form this IDIOT need hung out to dry. People take this lightly but what if the fire had gotten out of control and took a few things with it that we value, like lives of people in the store or a firefighter just trying to do his job.

  • Tessa

    He’s not a kid. He’s 20 years old and should know better. He needs to be locked up. I was wondering if these people were creating a diversion so they could steal a TV or something else expensive. That hasn’t come out but maybe that was the plan. Idiots.

  • LM

    Punishing people for what could have happened versus what actually happened is a slippery slope indeed. Are you all willing to start down this slope?

  • Marybeth Schaeffer

    i just showed my teenagers this in case they ever think about doing something stupid. i’m sure this kid meant no harm… but a silly prank went too far and caused a major concern with extreme consequences… and now this kid will be facing jail time.

  • LM

    Not saying I feel sorry for them. They used really bad judgement and did something really stupid – they should be held responsible for reparation and the cost of the emergency services they used. If someone had been physically harmed then the book should be thrown at him, but as it stands he damaged property and did not do any harm to people – wishing physical harm on him is not justice.

    • Charity

      You think these kids did no harm to anyone. How about all the associates that had to clean up the mess they made? Having to continue smelling and ingesting the smoke just because they were bored? Guess you would have a different opinion if it was you or your family or friends that come home smelling of smoke???

  • Nelson

    Bored kid??? This could have gone out of control and folks could have been injured? What if this bored kid decided to do it during a high volume time at the store? What if this caused some major damage and closed the whole store and folks couldn’t work and fell behind because of a bored kid? All I know when we were bored back in the day one thing we never thought of was torching a 24 hour building with people in it because we were bored. We’ll we will see how he feels when he’s in the can and some of his mates get bored.

  • Dan

    Lm really you feel sorry for them. Those kids need the book thrown at them. Would you be sticking up for them if someone got hurt or even died. They where bored. If they are that bored go shovel snow or get a freaking job you bums. F-in losers.

  • LM

    He’s a kid who did something really stupid – like bored kids do. It’s high profile, so he’ll be paying for this mistake for years. “A lit can of silly string shoved up his bum” is cruel and unusual punishment, not to mention highly unnecessary.

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