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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

News Release

For Immediate Release

Friday, April 19, 2019
Contact: Special Agent & PIO Charlene Hennessy

Arrest Made in Four-Alarm Port Richmond Blaze

PHILADELPHIA – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Philadelphia Field Division along with its partners in the Philadelphia Police and Fire Departments, and the Philadelphia Fire Marshal’s Office, announced today the arrest of Joseph Wolbert from Philadelphia, in connection with the 4-alarm fire that occurred on April 7, 2019, at the Thrifty Irishman Thrift Store, located at 2226 East Butler Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Through the use of various investigative techniques, investigators developed and identified Wolbert as a suspect and he was subsequently arrested. Wolbert has been charged with Arson and other state related offenses.

“Acts of arson are dangerous crimes and threaten the community,” said ATF Philadelphia Field Division Special Agent in Charge Donald Robinson.  “ATF is committed to keeping the public safe from those who maliciously set fires.  We appreciate the dedication of our personnel, the ATF National Response Team members that traveled to Philadelphia as well as all of our state and local partners who worked tirelessly to thoroughly investigate this fire and to hold the responsible individual accountable.”

"This is another outstanding example of teamwork among public safety agencies in Philadelphia," said Fire Commissioner Adam K. Thiel. "I am grateful for the hard work that investigators put in on this case."

The investigation is still ongoing however investigators have classified the fire to be incendiary. ATF’s ongoing investigation is being coordinated with the Philadelphia Fire Marshal’s Office, and the Philadelphia Police and Fire Departments.

ATF is the sole federal agency with jurisdiction for investigating fires and crimes of arson. Anyone with any information about this crime should contact the ATF Philadelphia Field Office at (215) 446-7800 or 888-ATF-FIRE (1-888-283-3473). Tips can also be submitted anonymously using the Reportit® app, or by visiting www.reportit.com, using the Philadelphia Field Division as the location.

The seals of the ATF National Response Team, ATF Philadelphia Arson and Explosives Task Force, Philadelphia Police Department, and Philadelphia Fire Department Fire Marshal's Office
Philadelphia Field Division