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Man To Serve Up To 7 Years In Prison For South Side Arson

January 22, 2019

SCRANTON — A city man will serve up to seven years in prison for setting an abandoned house on fire in South Scranton last June.

John Olszewski, 53, 428 Fig St., was charged with numerous counts of arson, recklessly endangering another person and other offenses related to fire at a vacant house at 514 Palm St. on June 10. In October, he pleaded guilty to a single count of arson.

Today, Lackawanna County Judge Michael J. Barrasse sentenced Olszewski to three years and four months to seven years in prison followed by three years of probation.

Police caught Olszewski when his neighbor recognized him and his bicycle in surveillance footage released online. Olszewski acknowledged he was in the area of the fire during an interview with police, authorities said. They caught him in a lie about what he was doing there, police said.

Police have previously reported that Olszewski was a suspect in the series of fires throughout South Side last spring.

Olszewski was on probation for a previous arson conviction, for which he served 16 years in state prison, according to court documents. He moved to the Fig Street address after being paroled from State Correctional Institution at Waymart, police said in charging papers.

Deputy District Attorney Brian Gallagher asked that the court take into consideration Olszewski’s prior record and offer a sentence that keeps residents safe.

Also referencing his previous conviction, Olszewski made a plea for a fair sentence.

“Sixteen years in jail is a long time,” he said.

Olszewski also said he accepted full responsibility, apologized for putting safety personnel at risk and promised to be a law-abiding citizen.

Contact the writer: drosler@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9100, x. 5365; droslerTT on Twitter

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