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Man pleads guilty to State College arsons, Ferguson Township cemetery vandalism

Timothy Penrod leaves the Centre County Courthouse after his preliminary hearing in June. The arson and vandalism suspect was in court again Thursday.
Timothy Penrod leaves the Centre County Courthouse after his preliminary hearing in June. The arson and vandalism suspect was in court again Thursday. CDT photo

The Centre County District Attorney’s Office reported a plea deal in two State College arsons and vandalism at a Ferguson Township cemetery.

Timothy Penrod, 24, of State College, pleaded guilty Monday before Judge Pamela Ruest to multiple counts, including arson, reckless endangerment, criminal mischief, trespass, institutional vandalism, desecration of a public monument and burglary.

The charges stemmed from three incidents. According to the District Attorney’s Office, police and fire units responded to a fire reported at a shed on Windsor Court in State College at 11:02 p.m. May 18. About $10,000 in damage was estimated to have occurred and an accelerant was determined to have been used by Penrod in the crime.

About 15 minutes later, another fire was reported at a Bayberry Drive residence. In this instance, the prosecutors said Penrod again used an accelerant to douse front siding and patio furniture before igniting the area.

Subsequently, prosecutors said police responded to reports of vandalism at Pine Hall Cemetery in Ferguson Township on May 27. Several tombstones were desecrated, and flags from the graves of veterans were burned. However, police discovered a receipt at the scene which was traced back to a credit card in Penrod’s name, aiding their investigation.

District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller said, “With fire and force, the defendant demolished and desecrated not just possessions, but revered monuments, symbols and reminders of loved ones lost. We are fortunate that no one was hurt by these fires and will seek and substantial state sentence for his actions.”

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