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Salford Township Man Accused of Arson
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            A Salford Township man faces arson and related charges in the municipality. Frank James Screnci, 57, of South County Line Road, is accused of strategically placing three fire bombs in a neighbor's yard.

            Screnci, arrested by the state police on Feb. 4, faces 37 counts from the Jan. 30 incident. The charges include three felony counts each of arson, related reckless endangerment of an inhabited building, risking catastrophe, reckless burning or exploding as well as four counts of possession of explosive material. He has also been charged with a misdemeanor count of stalking and related counts, according to information posted on a state judicial website.

            A Feb. 1 incident at the same residence on Barndt Road led to the arrest. Three witnesses told authorities that Screnci – who was driving a truck back and forth in front of the property, and spinning its wheels at a stop sign – parked near a side yard and emerged from the driver's seat holding a container with a cloth coming out of it. He had lighter in his hand and was attempting to light the cloth on fire, according to the police criminal complaint filed in the Red Hill court of District Judge Maureen Coggins.

            One of the witnesses approached Screnci and told him the house had security cameras. The man said he did not care and left the scene, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

            According to law enforcement officials, a search of the property turned up three devices known as Molotov cocktails. One, placed against the rear left corner of the house, consisted of a plastic Gatorade bottle containing a frozen liquid and shotgun rounds as well as an orange pill bottle containing a black powdery substance and half of a red road flare with a burnt end.

            The second device, located in a side yard next to a large tree, included a plastic soda bottle – taped to a small white flower pot – containing several pistol rounds, a black powdery substance and a liquid that looked or smelled like turpentine with a protruding burnt white sock.

            The third device, located between the others next to a large tree in the southeast corner of the yard, included a transparent glass jar containing liquid that looked or smelled like turpentine as well as a black powdery substance and several pistol rounds. It was also completely duct taped and included a hollow ridge consistent with where the flare would have been, according to the legal document. Law enforcement officials have not recovered the device Screnci possessed when he left the scene on Feb. 1.

            Two days later, the state police determined that a review of the video surveillance connected him to the incidents. The video shows that someone driving a black pickup truck at 9:15 p.m. exits the vehicle and throws an object on fire over a fence on the property. At 11:30 p.m., the operator of the truck is seen throwing a similar item over the fence, according to court records.

            Screnci was cited for disorderly conduct twice for separate incidents related to the same property in May and June in 2018. During a Feb. 5 arraignment on the current charges, Coggins set bail at $500,000 monetary. A preliminary hearing in the case has been scheduled for 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 19.





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