Schenectady

Police: Schenectady man arrested in New Year’s Eve STS Steel arsons; Caused $2.8M damage, police say

Fires caused $2.8M in damage, police say
Firefighters at the scene of the New Year's Eve fires
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Firefighters at the scene of the New Year's Eve fires

Categories: News, Schenectady County

SCHENECTADY — A former employee at STS Steel has been charged with setting a pair of New Year’s Eve fires at the complex off Erie Boulevard, causing nearly $3 million in damages, police said.

Mehendra R. Kapoor, 30, of Linden Street, was arrested Saturday and charged with two counts each of third-degree arson, second-degree criminal mischief and third-degree burglary.

Kapoor is accused of setting two fires the evening of Dec. 31 at STS Steel, one inside its offices at its main building and another in a separate building that housed the business’ paint shop, according to police allegations filed in court.

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Kapoor allegedly put a flame to available combustibles in both buildings just before 10 p.m. that evening. Firefighters responded and saved both structures, but damage totaled an estimated $2.8 million, according to police allegations. 

Kapoor was a former employee of STS Steele, prosecutor Michael DeMatteo said Tuesday. DeMatteo did not have further information on how Kapoor’s employment ended, but said he believed it ended within months prior to the fires.

Police based the charges on, among other information, video evidence, identification of Kapoor by a former co-worker and physical evidence, according to the police allegations.

Images: Fires damage STS Steel property in Schenectady, Jan. 1, 2020

The case was investigated by city police and the Schenectady Arson Task Force.

At the time of the arsons, STS Steel employed close to 60 people making trusses, bridges and lock gates for the state’s canals. It has been in its current location off Erie Boulevard for more than 30 years. Its main building, next to the Rivers Casino, is also a last vestige of the old American Locomotive plant.

STS president and co-founder Glenn Tabolt could not be reached for comment Tuesday, but the company had two of three production bays back up and running within about a week of the fire and temporary office space set up. But paint shop damage was more significant than initially thought, he said then.

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