Video Here: Man admits to setting building fire in Shamokin

sham SHAMOKIN – A 22-year-old Shamokin man is in jail after admitting to setting a fire that damaged a city building.  James Neidlinger was arraigned before District Judge John Gembic Tuesday and faces charges of arson, risking a catastrophe and criminal trespass.

Shamokin police officer Ray Siko says Neidlinger was found at the scene of the blaze in the 600 block of East Sunbury Street around 10:40p.m. Monday.  Neidlinger told police he knew who started the fire, and Siko says they then took him to the police station to question him.

“He provided information that the suspect was wearing a black ski mask, coat, pants and he said black boots that look like mine.  Basically he provided his characteristics to us; same height, same weight, the only thing that was different was the eye color.  Our interview continued and he did admit that he set the fire and what he did before, during and after.”

At a press conference Tuesday, Siko said Neidlinger explained to police that he had been upset with his girlfriend, went to take a walk and got so angry that he set the abandon building on fire.  This is the third fire in a week in Shamokin, but Siko says they are not yet linking Neidlinger to the other blazes.  “Right now we are actively investigating and I don’t want to prematurely say yes or no to a connection.  We have and will continue to interview multiple people.”

Police credit the actions of Shamokin trooper Darwin Tobias who noticed Neidlinger’s footprint in the snow and took a picture to later match up with his boots.  More from the press conference here: