New Castle News


May 9, 2014

UPDATE: Shenango teens face arson, other charges

NEW CASTLE — A series of alleged pranks have landed two teens in jail, each facing 39 charges, including arson.

Shenango Township police filed the charges against Daniel Robert McConahy, 19, of 915 Marie Ave. and Joshua Michael Klein, 18, of 3940 Hollow Road.

They are being held in the Lawrence County jail in lieu of $10,000 bond each.

Although most of the charges involve the alleged use of explosives to blow up mailboxes in the township, the most serious charge listed in criminal complaints involved a house that was destroyed by fire April 5 at 3412 Ellwood Road.

Investigators had ruled the cause of that blaze undetermined, but police later received a tip that two men, identified as McConahy and Klein, had been overheard talking about starting the fire with a flare gun.

Police already were investigating the pair in connection with the alleged use of carbon dioxide bombs and improvised devices to blow up mailboxes in the township.

When McConahy and Klein were asked about the fire, police said, they denied starting it, although they acknowledged they had been at McConahy’s home at the time of the blaze, firing a flare gun. McConahy lives near the scene of the fire.

The blaze destroyed the home, officials said, adding no injuries were reported and no one was there when flames erupted.

In that incident, McConahy and Klein are charged with one count each of causing a catastrophe, criminal mischief, possessing an instrument of a crime, reckless endangerment and dangerous burning.

The other charges against McConahy and Klein stem from a series of exploded or burning mailboxes along Old Pittsburgh Road, Pennsylvania Avenue and Nearwood Drive in Shenango Township.

In one incident, a witness was able to provide police with a license plate number that led them to Klein.

Officers said they had interviewed Klein and, at first, he denied involvement. However, he later admitted he and McConahy are responsible, police said.

Klein described how he and McConahy had made the explosives, officers said, adding they had purchased the materials they needed — such as gunpowder, fuses and carbon dioxide cartridges — from local stores.

Police said the two would test the explosives in a wooded area near Klein’s home. They also allegedly told police they had gathered information off the Internet about how to make their bombs.

As part of the investigation, the Allegheny County Bomb Squad was contacted to handle explosives police said they had recovered from McConahy and Klein.

Police said the two gave officers written statements about their involvement in the incidents.

McConahy and Klein each face 34 charges in the mailbox incidents. They are four counts each of arson, risking a catastrophe, criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and dangerous burning and seven counts each of possessing explosives and making repairs to offensive weapons.

Their preliminary hearings are scheduled for Thursday.

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