WHITE DEER TOWNSHIP — A 14-year-old boy in Union County is accused of an adult crime: setting eight fires between April and now. But right now, the boy is being prosecuted as a juvenile, even though the estimated damage is around $400,000.
State police will not release the name of that 14-year-old boy, but say he is being charged as a juvenile because of his age.
Investigators tracked him down by interviewing several people, who all pointed their fingers at the teenager. Troopers say the teen then confessed to setting eight fires.
“This was my whole life here. I worked my whole life for it,” Kenneth Herrold said.
Herrold stood outside what was once his home on Warren Road near Lewisburg. He looked at the damage, which state police say was caused by a 14-year-old boy.
Herrold calls it a “double whammy.” Not only did the boy allegedly burn down his house, two days after that, the boy is accused of setting Herrold’s garage on fire.
“Well, I’m glad he’s caught, that I am. I hope he realizes the damage he did,” Herrold said.
The teen is accused of setting eight fires between April and August.
State police estimate the 14-year-old caused over $400,000 in damage, even though Herrold says you can’t put a price on some of the things he lost.
One of the fires destroyed Donald Diefenbach’s home on Sunrise Road near Lewisburg.
“It was just like a weight lifted off your shoulders. The whole neighborhood doesn’t have to worry anymore,” Dieffenbach said.
Diefenbach spent the day trying to salvage what he could from his house.
“Hopefully we get some dumpsters here and I’m going to start cleaning the mess up,” Diefenbach said.
Neighbors say they were concerned their houses would be next.
“To hear now that they got somebody that confessed to it, it takes a big load off our shoulders,” Harold Gehrer said.
State police say tips led them to the boy who later confessed to the fires.
State police say the 14-year-old is being charged as a juvenile, not as an adult. The victims and people who live around here say they still hope that means the 14-year-old gets an appropriate punishment.
“I don’t know if they’re going to be able to do very much, because apparently, it’s a juvenile, but I hope they can take things into consideration,” Gehrer said.
The 14-year-old boy is locked up at a juvenile facility.