Police Collar Arson Suspect In Bank

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STROUDSBURG -- An arson suspect wanted by police in Monroe County was picked up inside a bank Wednesday.

Police believe Thomas Giarrizzo set a fire around 10 p.m. Tuesday inside an apartment house on West Main Street in Stroudsburg.

"I don't know anything about it."

Thomas Giarrizzo claimed he had no idea why he was being brought in to a magistrate's office in Stroudsburg but police say he lit his apartment house on fire late Tuesday night while his neighbors were inside.

"We had actually received a call from Thomas here last night about two hours prior to the fire call, complaining that he thought his neighbors were after him," said Stroud Area Regional Police Cpl. Kenneth Nevil.

According to police, Giarrizzo pointed a gun and told his neighbors to "stay inside and not come out."

Neighbor Connie Armstrong lives in the apartment house on West Main Street and says Giarrizzo had been acting rather strangely.

"He said he was hearing voices outside that people were calling him a terrorist or something," Armstrong said.

Police say Giarizzo took off after lighting curtains and a decorative wicker broom on fire.

Then just after noon Wednesday, an off-duty police officer spotted him at the First Northern Bank and Trust on Route 611 in Tannersville.

Officers took him into custody charging him with arson and recklessly endangering another person.

At a magistrate's office in Stroudsburg, Giarrizzo told police he was doomed, that people were watching him, and his identity was stolen.

Giarrizzo claimed there was a hit out on him and he started the fire the night that hit was supposed to happen.

"Are there people watching you?"

"I believe so," said Giarrizzo.

Now neighbors at the apartment house on West Main Street say they're just thankful to still have their home and that no one was hurt.

"It was unbelievable.  Words can't even explain what the feelings were," said neighbor Joshua Armstrong.

Giarrizzo is locked up in Monroe County.

Police say he has no prior record  and they believe mental health issues may be a factor in this case.