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Man accused of setting 6 fires over 3 days

By Ricky Sayer, Michael Guise

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    PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (KDKA) — A Pittsburgh man is facing charges after police said he intentionally set multiple fires over three days.

In a post on Facebook, the Allegheny County Police Department said 41-year-old David Harknett of Pittsburgh faces a list of charges, including aggravated arson, criminal mischief, receiving stolen property and recklessly endangering another person in connection with the incidents.

Police said Harknett was arrested after intentionally setting fire to the former Hooters restaurant on William Penn Highway in Wilkins Township on Thursday morning. After investigating, police said they determined the 41-year-old man was responsible for a string of other fires in Allegheny County since Tuesday.

Police said he intentionally set fire to Christ the Divine Shephard Parish in Monroeville on Thursday morning. A priest had to go to the hospital after breathing in the smoke.

Harknett is also accused of intentionally setting fire to four vehicles throughout Allegheny County on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“The Allegheny County Fire Marshal’s office was requested to investigate all six reported fires and determined each fire to be incendiary in nature,” the Facebook post said.

One of the vehicles allegedly set on by Harknett belongs to Jeffrey James. His truck’s center console is burned, the roof lining is melted and the inside is covered in soot.

“It’s really kind of surreal,” James said.

The criminal complaint said Harknett told officers he “has always been fascinated by fire and it excited him.” He told detectives “I did it”, referring to the fire on William Penn Highway, according to the criminal complaint.

The complaint says at the church, Harknett believes he went into a priest’s office and lit a robe on fire. He also told investigators that he watched firefighters try to put out the blaze through the bushes in his parent’s backyard.

Allegheny County police added that the 41-year-old man is accused of stealing from multiple vehicles at the Jefferson Hills Police Department on Tuesday.

Harknett was taken to the Allegheny County Jail. He faces 43 charges.

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