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Police: Carlisle man used American flag to start one of several arson fires

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch
John Petonyak

A Carlisle man charged with arson set three fires at several businesses and burned pieces of an American flag, police said. 

John Petonyak II, in addition to arson, is charged with two counts of risking catastrophe and three counts of criminal mischief, both felonies. He's also charged with desecration of the flag, a misdemeanor, and three counts of dangerous burning, summary offenses.

Police responded to three separate fires on Saturday, Jan. 11 — behind a Little Caesar's Pizza, the Pennsylvania Counseling Services and at Hoffman Funeral Home and Crematory, according to a news release.

Petonyak also tried to set a car on fire that was owned by Hoffman Funeral Home and Company.

"Pieces of an American flag were placed into the fuel opening of the vehicle and set on fire," the release states. "The fire did not spread to the fuel tank."

Petonyak was arrested on Sunday, Jan. 12, and admitted to police he set the fires, according to police.

Petonyak is in Cumberland County Prison and was unable to post bail. His bail is set at $90,000.

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.