Chesco 'ninja' arrested in arson

Michael Norley, Jr.

It's not uncommon for a guy to have an argument with his uncle. What's slightly more uncommon, however, is when said guy dresses up like a Japanese assassin and tries to kill his uncle with a hammer.

Oh, and waits a year to do so after unsuccessfully burning down his uncle's business.

Michael Norley, Jr., 29, is accused of doing both, according to Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan.

Norley was arrested August 19 and charged with attempted homicide after allegedly attacking one of the owners of Pro Signs, a sign shop in Downingtown operated by his three uncles, with a hammer while "dressed as a ninja," said Hogan.

During the course of their investigation, police found evidence linking Norley to an incident last July, when numerous fires were intentionally set inside Pro Signs. The blaze caused about $375,000 in damage at the shop, where Norley was previously employed, said Hogan.

But that wasn't the extent of the damage: Numerous racially-charged messages were spray painted around the business, including "Kill Whitez" and "Kill Zimmerman," the latter referring to George Zimmerman, the Florida neighborhood watch volunteer charged with killing Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman's trial was being held at the time of the arson.

The shop's owners told police that their nephew held "significant animosity" toward the company, stemming from a worker's compensation case, said Hogan.

With that information from the owners, police were able to determine that Norley broke into the shop last July and used gasoline-filled Gatorade bottles to start the fires, according to Hogan.

Norley has been charged with arson, burglary and related offenses in that incident. He remains in custody, pending formal arraignment.