Man Charged With Pennsylvania Adult Book Store Arson

PPITTSBURGH (AP) – State police have charged the employee of an adult book store with setting fire to the western Pennsylvania business to cover up an alleged theft.

Joseph Pahel, 44, of Unity Township, was in custody Thursday, awaiting arraignment on two counts of arson, and charges of theft, criminal mischief and recklessly endangering another person.

Nobody was hurt in the fire at Bargain Sales on Route 30 in Unity Township, though several firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion. The business is near the St. Vincent College campus, about 40 miles east of Pittsburgh.

The fire was reported about 12:30 a.m. Thursday, and police said a door alarm went off at the business just before a smoke alarm. Police were not releasing a criminal complaint detailing the allegations until after the arraignment and Trooper Steve Limani, spokesman for the state police barracks in Greensburg, would not immediately say how investigators linked Pahel to the fire.

Police didn’t immediately say how long Pahel worked for the business, or in what capacity. The business sells sex-related videos, publications and devices and employs several women who appear nude in viewing booths.

The business was badly damaged, but investigators didn’t immediately release an estimate.

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