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Man pleads guilty in Hanover fire case
A man charged with causing a fire in Hanover late last year pleaded guilty in the case according to online court records.
Andrew Maurice Pinda, 45, of 335 Second Ave., pleaded guilty to reckless burning and criminal trespass. His remaining charges of criminal mischief and criminal trespass were dismissed as part of his negotiated plea agreement.
Common Pleas Judge Michael E. Bortner sentenced Pinda to 87 days to 23 months in prison, and he will receive credit for time served. Additionally, he was sentenced to four years probation.
He also was ordered to pay about $75,000 in restitution. As part of his sentencing, Pinda also must receive a mental health evaluation.
Erin S. Thompson, who is listed as his public defender, did not immediately return a call seeking comment Friday.
The background: About 11 p.m. Nov. 26, an abandoned home at 651 Broadway caught fire. While battling the blaze, a firefighter fell through the floor of the house, but he was uninjured. No injuries were reported.
According to police, the damage to the home was estimated at $75,000. Police determined it was arson the following day.
According to charging documents, Hanover Borough Police received a call from an acquaintance of Pinda, who told police that Pinda admitted to him that he set the fire to prove that "no one was real" and that "police weren't real."
On Dec. 13, police spoke to Pinda at his home, and Pinda admitted to setting the fire, according to police. He said he knew the place was abandoned, and he entered the home through an unsecured rear door, according to charging documents. Pinda said he lit the fire by burning paper to keep warm, documents state.
He did not intend for the home to catch fire, according to police. Pinda told police he was the only one in the home at the time, and he said he did not know where he went after the fire, charging documents state.
Trespassing: According to police, Pinda also broke into a residence in the 100 block of Eichelberger Street sometime during a week in November.
Police say the resident of the home, who was gone between Nov. 24 and Nov. 30, returned and found items out of place as well as a broken window pane. A massage pillow and towel were stuffed into the window frame opening, police said.
The man also found food and drink had been consumed and that his bed had been slept in, according to charging documents. The man told police it might have been Pinda, whom he had known from church, according to documents.
On Dec. 13, Pinda admitted to breaking into the residence, documents state. He said he broke into the home to stay warm and remained there for a few days without permission, documents state.
Police say the total damage amount for Pinda's stay was $600. Charging documents do not state when or how long Pinda had stayed at the home.
— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at email@example.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.