A Penn State student is in the Centre County Correctional facility, accused of arson and related charges after university police said he tried to set off a fire alarm at a campus residence hall.
Police responded to Simmons Hall about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday after getting a report of a suspected arson from an employee. Officers found burnt paper and a charred pack of Marlboro cigarettes near a stairwell in the building. Video surveillance showed a man later identified as Benjamin Bishop, 18, of Doylestown, try to trigger the alarm first with a lit cigarette, then by burning the pack and papers attached to a door in the building, according to police.
Police said Bishop turned himself in later that day and reportedly told police that he had a fight with his girlfriend, who lives in the building, before the incident. He reported he had been drinking and had not taken his anxiety medication and was trying to trigger the building’s fire alarm and an evacuation to “annoy her back,” according to court documents.
Bishop is also charged with possessing incendiary materials, risking catastrophe and disorderly conduct. He was arraigned before District Judge Leslie Dutchcot Wednesday morning and he is held in lieu of 10 percent of $100,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 12.