The Leader Staff
ELMIRA - A transient man was arrested Tuesday for allegedly setting fire to a Nativity scene early Tuesday morning.
Daniel J. Peterson-Green, 24, was charged with second-degree criminal mischief, a class D felony. He was arraigned in Elmira City Court and sent to the Chemung County Jail on $750 cash bail.
Peterson-Green will reappear in Elmira City Court at a later date to answer to the charges.
Police said Peterson-Green first told patrolmen that he had accidentally started the fire at about 1:30 a.m., with a cigarette in the area of Wisner Park and 200 W. Gray St.
Elmira Police Captain Anthony A. Alvernaz said further investigation revealed that Peterson-Green intentionally lit a cash register receipt on fire and then let the receipt catch a bail of straw on fire.
Peterson-Green then fled the area, failing to notify officials of the fire.
Upon arrival, patrolmen said the annual Nativity scene was fully engulfed, Alvernaz said. The manger and all pieces inside were damaged beyond repair.
Police said a witness on scene provided a description of a person observed leaving the area of the manger while it was on fire.
Anyone who may have witnessed the incident or has additional information is encouraged to call the Elmira Police Department at 737-5611 or the anonymous tip line at (607) 271-HALT.