HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — A man is now facing arson charges in two separate incidents in Westmoreland County, including one at a business where the owner tried to help the suspect out in the past.
The fire damage to Chris Stevens’ automobile repair business in Hempfield Township is still evident and apparently costly.
“I’d say $30,000 to $50,000,” said Stevens.
All of it, according to state police, at the hands of arson suspect, 30-year-old Kidd Shafer. Stevens and Shafer knew each other.
“He’d come in with bald tires, and I’d say, ‘Hey, just bring it over. I’ll just put the tire on and pay me on the flip side.’ But the flip side never came,” said Stevens.
This blaze happened on July 6. But investigators say it was more than just arson.
“He came in, stole some tools. And that wasn’t good enough,” said Stevens.
State police say Shafer is also accused of setting a vacant building on fire back in March.
Stevens says the last few weeks have been nerve-wracking.
“Oh my God, I’m going to get everything back in order and here he comes again to finish me off,” said Stevens. “This is the only thing I can do to feed my family.”
But Stevens says he’s going to keep his chin up in the wake of the fire.
“I’m still here. I’m still here, I’m on my feet,” he said.
Shafer remains in the Westmoreland County Jail on $70,000 bond. He’s charged with arson, theft and receiving stolen property.
Investigators haven’t ruled him out as a suspect in other recent fires in the area.