Saturday, November 28, 2015

Cops: Man locked himself in foreclosed home, set it on fire

Frank Matt, 50. Lancaster City Bureau of Police

Police on Thursday arrested a Lancaster City man who allegedly locked himself inside his former home, which was recently sold at a foreclosure auction, then set the property on fire.

Officers with the Lancaster Bureau of Police shortly before 1:30 p.m. responded to a home on the 500 block of West Vine Street for a report of trespassing.

They were met by the homeowner, who told them he recently purchased the property. He said that, when he went inside his new residence, he was greeted by a man who claimed to be the previous owner.

That man, who police identified as 50-year-old Frank Matt, left the home but allegedly returned less than a half hour later carrying a bag of unknown items. Police said Matt walked past the homeowner, who was in the process of installing new locks, and shut the door, locking the owner out.

When police arrived to the home a second time, Matt allegedly stood in front of a first-floor window and showed officers that he had a firearm. Police took the owner to safety and set up a perimeter around the property.

Matt eventually exited the house. Though he attempted to ignore officers' commands and walk away, he was taken into custody without incident, police said.

Officers a short time later smelled smoke coming from the house. Firefighters responded and extinguished a blaze that was burning inside the home's basement. Investigators said Friday the extent of the property damage was not yet known.

A state police Fire Marshal determined the cause of the fire to be arson. Police said a loaded handgun was also recovered from inside the property.

According to public records, Matt owned the home for about four years, until it was sold several months ago at a foreclosure auction. The deed transfer was completed Jan. 30.

Matt is charged with burglary, arson and causing or risking a catastrophe, all felony offenses. He was jailed Friday at the Lancaster County Prison in lieu of $350,000 bail.

Contact Alex Wigglesworth at 215-854-2305 or Follow @phila_lex on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443; Follow @phillynews on Twitter.

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