By Melissa Klaric
Herald Staff Writer
MERCER COUNTY —
A man arrested for operating a meth lab in Erie was recently charged for setting a car on fire in Hermitage and stealing multiple cars in the area in late February.
State police charged Kyle Scott Hunter, 27, of 206 W. Ninth St., Erie, Thursday with reckless burning or exploding, theft, four counts of receiving stolen property, conspiracy and four counts of unauthorized use of motor vehicles.
Hermitage police found a black pickup on fire and eventually destroyed at 3:26 a.m. Feb. 26 in the 1700 block of Sandy Lane, Hermitage. The pickup valued at $8,000 was reported stolen from a dealership in Poland, N.Y., earlier that month.
Hermitage Deputy Fire Marshal Jim Reda determined the fire to be arson, police said. They found a five-gallon gas can at the scene and were able to lift DNA from it, police said.
State police were able to identify Hunter from surveillance video that showed him getting in and out of the pickup at a convenience store on state Route 18 in Pymatuning Township.
Through other video surveillance and witness reports, police were able to trace the movements of Hunter and his accomplices throughout the morning on the day of the fire.
After stopping at the convenience store, Hunter was next seen on video stealing a blue pickup valued at $8,000 from a Pymatuning Township auto dealer, police said.
Next, Hempfield Township police responded to a call at Methodist and Hadley roads and found someone inside an Arctic Cat Prowler that had been stolen from Campbell-Peterson in Hempfield, police said.
The person ran and got into the blue pickup and police chased it into a field where two people jumped out and fled into the woods, leaving a cell phone in the abandoned car that identified Hunter.
A 2002 GMC Sierra pickup was reported stolen from a home in Hempfield after the chase that morning, police said.
Cell phone records showed communication between Hunter and conspirators. One of the people involved told police that Hunter admitted lighting the black pickup on fire because he was sick of it and wanted to drive a different car, police said.
Hunter was arraigned by District Judge Brian Arthur, who set a $100,000 bond. He is in Erie County Jail on $50,000 bond awaiting arraignment in Erie County Common Pleas Court from his Feb. 27 arrest.
He was charged in Erie County with reckless endangerment, criminal use of a cell phone, possession of a controlled substance, possession with intent to sell, possession of paraphernalia, possession of ephedrine, possession of red phosphorus with intent to sell, operating a meth lab, and depositing, storing or disposing of chemical waste.