PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Roger Barlow Jr. was doing well in vocational school, had a girlfriend and had never shown any interest in fire, said the father of a teen charged with setting nine fires in Coatesville, Pa.
19-year-old Barlow Jr. comes home from school and eats dinner with the family, according to Roger Barlow Sr.
But Barlow Sr. admits he does not like the friend now charged with Barlow, 20-year-old Mark Gilliam of West Chester.
Authorities describe Barlow as a pyromaniac who terrorized the steel town near Philadelphia, setting nine fires since early January.
Barlow is being held on state charges on $9 million bail. Gilliam was in federal court Friday afternoon on charges he tried to burn down a restaurant.
An arson task force focused on Barlow after police stopped his vehicle during elevated patrols, said Mark Potter, special agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Investigators asked Barlow what he was doing around Coatesville. Based on his reaction -- and a later glance at his MySpace page, which includes a box showing animated flames -- officers knew they wanted to talk to him further, Potter said.
Barlow and Gilliam have been described as close friends by authorities.
Gilliam is facing federal charges because he tried to torch a commercial business and he is also being seen as the mastermind of the arsons, sources told NBC 10 Friday.
Gilliam is being held without bail on a charge of attemped arson of a commercial property.
Stay with NBC Philadelphia for on going details.