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Man accused of setting fires across Allegheny County, including Monroeville church rectory

ALLEGHENY COUNTY, Pa. — A man is facing arson charges after multiple fires in Allegheny County, including a fire at a church rectory overnight Thursday that sent a priest to a local hospital and inside an old Hooters restaurant.

>> Priest taken to hospital after fire breaks out in Monroeville church rectory

A witness to the fire in Monroeville saw a man in blue jeans and a black shirt hiding behind a transformer in the parking lot, police said.

>> 1 person in custody after suspicious fire at old Hooters restaurant in Wilkins Township

Police identified the man as David Harknett, 41. He was arrested Thursday in connection to multiple fires that happened this week.

County police say Harknett began his crime spree Tuesday night.

In Pleasant Hills, he allegedly set a Subaru on fire and stole gift cards from inside.

Then he’s accused of lighting a Toyota Corolla on fire in Brentwood before heading to Jefferson Hills where he allegedly stole a bike, rode it to the Jefferson Hills police station, and opened two unlocked patrol cars taking fleet gas cards and keys from them but later leaving them in the parking lot.

According to the police report, after setting the church rectory on fire this morning, Harknett then snuck into the abandoned former Hooters on William Penn Highway in Wilkins Township.

Police paperwork states Harknett said he enjoys watching the fires he sets and “he has always been fascinated by fire and it excited him.”

He was found near the old Hooters and arrested just before 5 a.m. Thursday.

He was taken to the Allegheny County Jail.

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