Police charge Middletown man in Catherine Street arson fire

A Middletown man is behind bars following his arrest Friday on arson charges.

Carl E. Nelson IV, age 18, of the 400 block of Ann Street in the Borough is charged with arson of an inhabited building or structure, arson with a danger of death or bodily injury, and criminal mischief in connection with an August 18 fire that caused more than $8,000 damage to a duplex in the 100 block of North Catherine Street. Police said they also plan to amend the original complaint to add charges of reckless endangerment.

Police said their investigation determined Nelson used kerosene to start the fire after an incident the prior night involving a stolen skateboard. A resident of the building told police he had confronted Nelson after seeing Nelson in possession of his stolen skateboard and threatened to call the police.

The two had words and Nelson left, police said. But early the next morning, after drinking cough syrup, Nelson allegedly returned to the North Catherine Street home with a Gatorade bottle filled with kerosene, which he used to start the fire.

A resident of the home who smelled smoke in their third floor bedroom managed to extinguish the fire, limiting the damage primarily to melted siding on the front porch and on the side of the building.

Nelson was arraigned in front of District Judge Michael  J. Smith in Dauphin County Night Court and remained to Dauphin County Prison in lieu of $250,000 bail. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on September 7 in front of District Judge David H. Judy.




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