Man charged with torching fire marshal’s car indicted for 3 other fires

Posted April 25, 2012, at 8:05 p.m.
John Weckerly
John Weckerly
This State Fire Marshal's Office vehicle was torched by an arsonist in Prentiss Township in August 2011.
Courtesy of Maine Department of Public Safety
This State Fire Marshal's Office vehicle was torched by an arsonist in Prentiss Township in August 2011.

BANGOR, Maine — A man facing one arson charge for allegedly setting a state fire marshal’s car on fire in August while investigators were on a stakeout was indicted Wednesday on additional charges, including three fires set last year in northeastern Penobscot County.

John A. Weckerly, 54, of Prentiss Township was indicted by the Penobscot County grand jury on three counts of arson, five counts of criminal mischief and one count each of aggravated criminal mischief, burglary and theft by unauthorized taking.

His arraignment date has not been set.

The new charges relate to break-ins, thefts and fires on properties near Weckerly’s land last year, Penobscot County District Attorney R. Christopher Almy said Wednesday. The fires that damaged or destroyed a garage, a seasonal camp and other structures occurred on Nov. 16, July 3 and July 20, according to a previously published report.

Weckerly was indicted in November on one count of arson in connection with the torching of the state-owned 2009 Chevrolet Impala in August. Weckerly triggered the nighttime detail when he called investigator Ed Archer of the state fire marshal’s office to renew his complaint about a logging company making too much noise near Weckerly’s property, according to court documents.

“Investigator Archer advised that each of the fires occurred shortly after John Weckerly complained to law enforcement authorities about the logging operation and was unsuccessful in his attempts to stop the woods operations,” a report filed when Weckerly was arrested in August said. “Due to this concern, a surveillance detail was planned for [Tuesday, Aug. 2].”

Weckerly was arrested without incident and charged with arson early Aug. 3 after a state police dog followed a scent from the destroyed car of Fire Marshal Sgt. Timothy York on Aurora Drive to Weckerly’s home about a half mile away. The car had been set afire with a flammable liquid, state police said.

A butane lighter was found in Weckerly’s back pocket, according to the report.

Weckerly last year denied setting the fires for which he was indicted Wednesday.

If convicted, Weckerly faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 on each of the arson charges, which are the most serious charges.

Weckerly was released on bail last year on the condition that he be strictly supervised by Volunteers of America, a pretrial services organization. Information about his bail conditions was not available Wednesday night.

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