Arrest Made in Million Dollar Philadelphia Thrift Shop Blaze

The 4-alarm fire gutted the warehouse containing the Thrifty Irishman Thrift Shop in Philadelphia's Port Richmond neighborhood

What to Know

  • A local-federal task force has announced the arrest of a Philadelphia man in connection with a $1.8M fire that destroyed a thrift shop.
  • The April 7 blaze tore through a Port Richmond warehouse that housed the Thrifty Irishman. The ATF said Friday they arrested Joseph Wolbert.
  • Wolbert, 65, is charged with arson, causing a catastrophe and related offenses.

A Philadelphia man has been charged with setting a 4-alarm fire that consumed a popular thrift store in Philadelphia's Port Richmond section earlier this month.

Joseph Wolbert is charged with arson, causing a catastrophe and related crimes for the April 7 blaze at the Thrifty Irishman thrift shop along E. Butler Street, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Friday.

The shop was housed in a warehouse that was completely destroyed by the fire. An estimated $1.8 million in damage was inflicted by the fire, the ATF said. No one was injured.

Federal investigators were called in to assist in determining a cause of the fire. The ATF dispatched a National Response Team to the scene which, through its investigation, found evidence that linked Wolbert to the fire, the agency said.

Investigators did not say how the fire was set. 

Wolbert, 65, is being held on $100,000 bail at the city correctional facility. It is not clear if he has retained an attorney. Pennsylvania court records link him to a long criminal history including a 1998 guilty plea for murder and homicide by vehicle. He served at least eight years for that crime, records show.

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