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TWO NIAGARA U ROOMMATES CHARGED IN SERIES OF DORM FIRES

Two Niagara University roommates have been arrested in connection with a series of small fires set in the Seton Hall dormitory since January while students were asleep.

Jamie Werkheiser, 19, of Huntington, L.I., and Sean M. Maloney, 20, of Webster, roommates on Seton Hall's fifth floor, were both charged with felony third-degree criminal mischief, by Niagara County Sheriff's Investigators John Koelle and Paul Perkins.

Although at least six fires were started on the dormitory's third and fifth floors from late January through last Wednesday, each student was charged with only one fire, Koelle said, because he couldn't prove either set more than one.

"I believe this should put an end to the fires," he said.

He said the fires either burned out on their own or were doused with fire extinguishers. Nobody was injured in any of the fires.

Werkheiser is accused of setting fire to some papers on the fifth-floor walls of the dormitory early March 13, Perkins said, while Maloney is accused of doing the same thing in late January or Feb. 1.

Both students pleaded innocent Monday night before Lewiston Town Justice Thomas J. Sheeran, who scheduled preliminary hearings for today.

Werkheiser was released on his own recognizance. Maloney, who is on probation for a driving-while-intoxicated charge in Niagara Falls, is free on $1,000 bail, deputies said.

University officials called the Sheriff's Department at about 2 a.m. last Wednesday when they discovered toilet paper had been wrapped around the outside door handle of a resident assistant's room on the fifth floor and then set on fire, Sgt. Michael Messina said.

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