- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—A 51-year-old homeless man was arrested Monday night on felony charges of arson and criminal mischief in connection with the July 19 fire that forced the evacuation and temporary closing of the Walmart Super Center in Cobleskill, police reported.

Michael D. Deyo was captured by store surveillance video system intentionally starting the fire with flammable liquids he obtained from inside the Walmart, said Cobleskill Police Chief Richard Bialkowski.

Deyo, a former employee of the store, had prepared the scene of the fire in a way that impeded the ability of firefighters to douse it, Bialkowski said.

A precise motive for the crime remained unknown, the chief said.

Deyo fled on foot after starting the fire. He was apprehended Monday with assistance from Schenectady Police, Bialkowski said.

About 50 employees and customers fled from the 24-hour store after the fire was set, he said.

No injuries resulted from the fire, officials said.

In addition to charges of second-degree arson and second degree criminal mischief, Deyo was charged with obstructing firefighting operations, a misdemeanor.

Arraigned before Cobleskill Town Justice Gary Bywater, Deyo was ordered held at Schoharie County Correctional Facility when he was unable to post $50,000 bail or $100,000 property bond.

The fire was contained by the Cobleskill and Richmondville fire departments, officials said.

Assisting the Cobleskill Police Department in the probe are the State Police, the Schoharie County Sheriff’s Office, the state Environmental Conservation Police, the state Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services OFPC Fire Investigators, the County Fire Coordinator and members of the Schoharie County Fire Investigation Team.


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