Men arrested in series of playing card car arsons in southern York County

Daily Record/Sunday News

Updated: 02/04/2011 01:44:27 PM EST

York, PA –

Update 

State Police Trooper Thomas Pinkerton said they were tipped off by a “cooperating individual.”

Police placed a car as bait in the area. The car was one that was set to be sent for salvage purposes.

Pinkerton, speaking at a news conference this morning, said the act of leaving playing cards at each of the arson was “their calling card, their signature, as warped as it sounds.”

He said there was no connection to a school dance, which had been a theory early on.

He said they have an idea of the motive but would not discuss it.

Asked whether there was any connection between any of the victims, Pinkerton said the fires appeared to be random.

Robb and Nalls were arraigned this morning before District Justice John Fishel and committed to York County Prison in lieu of $1.5 million bail for Robb and $1 million bail for Nalls.

Reported earlier

Two men have been arrested for setting a string of fires to cars in southern York County last year, Pennsylvania State Police reported Friday morning.

Alexander Robb, 21, of New Freedom, and Michael Nalls, 21, of Airville, are accused of torching cars in several southern York County communities and leaving playing cards behind at the scene.

York Area Regional Police arrested Alexander early this morning after he set a car on fire in the 200 block of Forrest Hills Road.

According to the charging documents, police, responding to a tip, had staked out the location and arrested Robb shortly after officers witnessed him setting the fire.

Investigators said Robb implicated Nalls in setting two other fires.

They also said that Robb admitted setting other fires and leaving playing cards behind.

Robb and Nalls were arraigned this morning before District Justice John Fishel and committed to York County Prison in lieu of $1.5 million bail for Robb and $1 million bail for Nalls.

State police news

Release

The Pennsylvania State Police Troop H, York Station in partnership with York Area Regional Police, Southern Regional Police, Baltimore County Police, ATF, York County Detectives and the York County District Attorney’s Office have arrested two individuals responsible for the rash of car fires throughout southern York County as well as Baltimore County, MD and Penn Township, York County, PA.

These car fires began in December 2009 and continued through February 4, 2011. As a result of on going investigations, today at approximately 12:45 a.m., Troop H, Troopers along with York Area Regional Police arrested Alexander Robb aged 21 from New Freedom, PA. He was arrested after setting fire to a vehicle in Windsor Township, PA. Also, later this morning Michael Allen Nalls, aged 21 from Airville, PA was arrested in connection with the car fire investigations.

Both accused were transported to District Court 19-3-01, Judge Fishel presiding. Both were given a preliminary arraignment on February 4, 2011 at 8:00 a.m. This arraignment stemmed from charges filed against the defendants by York Area Regional Police. Three complaints were filed against Robb and two were filed against Nalls for arson and related offenses. The bail for each complaint was set at $500,000 for each. Additional charges are pending by other affected agencies.

Related coverage:

 · Read the arrest affidavits. Scroll to ‘Courts/police.’

 · Feb. 3, 2010: Two more vehicle fires at the hand of serial arsonist

 · March 9, 2010: Two more cars set on fire in York County

 · March 11, 2010: Vehicle arsons turn up in Maryland, too

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