A Hempfield man is accused of stealing a few gallons of gasoline from an outdoor fuel tank and setting fire to the tank’s dispensing system early on Dec. 28 at the Z&M Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealership along Route 30 in Hempfield.
State police fire marshal Trooper Chet Bell has charged Kevin Harrold, 53, of Ladysmith Road with four arson-related offenses, risking a catastrophe, theft, criminal mischief and possessing instruments of crime in the incident that occurred between 1 and 3 a.m.
Employees of the dealership discovered signs of a crime when they arrived for work later that morning, and they called police after seeing the suspect in footage captured by surveillance cameras, Bell said in court documents.
“He actually had gotten a crowbar and ripped a pump off our fuel cell,” Dax Dillman, manager of the dealership, told the Tribune-Review. Dillman said damage to Z&M’s equipment amounted to thousands of dollars — most of it caused by use of the crowbar, which allowed the suspect to steal the fuel.
Bell said tips identifying Harrold as the culprit were received by police and the Z&M staff after the dealership posted the surveillance footage on social media and released it to area news media this week. Bell confirmed Harrold’s identity as the suspect by using the Commonwealth Law Enforcement Assistance Network and the FBI’s National Crime Information Center.
Harrold contacted Dillman Thursday, confessed to committing the crimes and apologized while agreeing to cooperate with police and to arrange for restitution, Bell said.
“I did accept his apology and let him know how I felt,” Dillman told the Tribune-Review about his phone conversation with Harrold. “I hope he finds a way not to be involved in such activity.”
According to Bell, Harrold, who arrived at the dealership on foot, failed in his first attempt to take gasoline from the tank. He then took an aerosol can and the crowbar from storage trailers on the property and applied an open flame to the aerosol can contents, setting fire to the fuel tank’s dispensing system.
Using the crowbar, Harrold removed and damaged the fuel dispensing pump and components and an electrical supply box. Bell said Harrold finally drained 2 to 3 gallons of fuel into a small gasoline container before leaving on foot.
Dillman expressed gratitude for the tips and other public response to posts about the incident. “The community support we’ve received has been a silver lining,” he said. “There was much support and concern for our well-being.”
He said security measures are being increased at the business.
Harrold was arraigned before District Judge Mark Mansour and was released on an unsecured bond. He faces a Jan. 19 preliminary hearing.
This surveillance video still shows a man who appeared on the property of Z&M Harley-Davidson in Hempfield early on Dec. 28. Police have identified the man and have charged him with stealing gasoline from a tank and using fire and a metal bar to damage the tank.
State police have charged a man they say stole gasoline from a tank and set fire to the tank Dec. 28, 2017 outside Z&M Harley-Davidson in Hempfield.