A man was charged after a fire behind a popular local shopping center.
Tullytown Borough police were dispatched to the area of the Home Depot in the Levittown Town Center around 3:53 a.m. Friday for a report for a fire. Volunteer firefighters were also called to the scene for a pallet on fire next to the building.
The arriving officers found a wooden pallet ablaze against a dumpster that was attached to the Ross department store in the shopping center.
An employee of the Home Depot spoke with police. He said he spotted the fire and talked with the man who was near it. The man told the Home Depot worker it a “controlled pallet fire.” The employee ended up calling the fire company because he was concerned the flames would spread, according to court papers.
An officer found a man who is known to be experiencing homelessness nearby and asked him about the fire, police said.
The man, who was detained without incident, told the officer it was a “controlled pallet fire,” police said.
At the police station, the man – identified as Michael E. Gabrys, 41 – said he lit the fire because he is homeless and was cold, authorities said.
There was damage to the area where the fire occurred, but the fire did not extend into the stores.
Gabrys was charged with arson, reckless burning, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, and public drunkenness. He was arraigned by on-call District Judge Michael Gallagher and sent to the Bucks County Correctional Facility on 10 percent of $250,000.
Editor’s Note: All individuals arrested or charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty. The story was compiled using information from police and public court documents.
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