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State College Man Sentenced for Arson, Cemetery Vandalism Spree

by on November 14, 2014 6:40 PM

A State College man is sentenced to seven to 20 years in state prison, after a series of disturbing crimes that included arson and vandalism.

Timothy Penrod, 24, pleaded guilty for his role in three separate incidents.

On May 18, he carried out two random arson attacks. The first happened on Windsor Court in State College. Police say Penrod set a large wooden shed on fire causing roughly $10,000 in damages.

The second arson happened just minutes later at a home on Bayberry Drive. Penrod used charcoal lighter fluid to set the front of the home on fire. The residents were inside at the time. A passerby stopped and sounded the alarm, preventing a possible tragedy. Damage from that second fire totaled about $2,000.

On May 27, police were called to Pine Hall Cemetery in Ferguson Township after 15 gravestones had been vandalized. Several American flags placed at veteran's graves had been burned. The crime proved to be Penrod's undoing.

Investigators found an empty beer can and a credit card receipt  from a State College bar in Penrod's name. A black baseball cap and sandwich boxes from a fast food restaurant were also discovered. Surveillance video from the restaurant showed Penrod buying food while wearing the black cap. In addition, Police found Penrod's cell phone at the cemetery along with a footprint that matched his shoes.

In October, Penrod pleaded guilty to numerous charges including two counts of arson, recklessly endangering another person, 16 counts of criminal mischief, two counts of criminal trespass, 15 counts of institutional vandalism, 15 counts of intentional desecration of a public monument, burglary and maliciously destroying a flag.

In a prepared statement, Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller said, "We are fortunate that no one was injured by the defendant's reckless rampage and hope that he will develop a greater respect for community and freedom during his incarceration."

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Steve Bauer was the Managing Editor of StateCollege.com. Steve and his wife Trina are longtime area residents. They reside in State College along with a wacky Golden Retriever named Izzy.
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