Woelfersheim collared for arson

The Enterprise — Melissa Hale-Spencer

Matthew C. Woelfersheim

The Enterprise — Melissa Hale-Spencer

Eyes cast down, Matthew Woelfersheim, right, stands before Judge John Bailey in Guilderland Town Court Thursday evening on arson charges as Bailey asks if he will waive a preliminary hearing. His lawyer answered he would in exchange for an FBI conference.

GUILDERLAND — A massive man in a bright yellow prison jumpsuit, Matthew C. Woelfersheim stood before Judge John Bailey in Guilderland Town court last Thursday evening, having been charged with two more counts of third-degree arson, all felonies. A bearded man with short-cropped hair, he stood with his eyes cast down and his face registering no expression during the brief court appearance.

Woelfersheim, 37, a town resident who lives at 1105 Siver Road, had been arrested on one count by Guilderland Police Monday for burning down a vacant commercial building on Carman Road last month.

He was charged with two more counts on Thursday for two more Guilderland fires. The charges stem from a garage fire on July 8 at 3424 Carman Road and a barn fire on Oct. 14 at 40 Stone Road. Both buildings were totally destroyed in the early morning hours, police say.

Thursday, before a packed courtroom, Woelfensheim's lawyers told Bailey they would waive a preliminary hearing in exchange for an FBI conference. The judge remanded Woelfensheim to the Albany County Sheriff's, saying his case would go to an Albany County grand jury and he was no longer in the jurisdiction of the Guilderland court.

In the early morning hours on Sept. 30, a building at 3400 Carman Road, across from Greulich’s Market, burned to the ground; the fire spread to the garage of a house next door, destroying the new car inside.

The vacant building is shown on the town’s 2013 final assessment roll as belonging to Anthony Serafini, who could not be reached for comment; it was valued at $145,543.

The Guilderland Fire Cause and Origin Team, the lead investigative agency, arrested Woelfersheim based on information that Captain Curtis Cox said could not be revealed at this time.

Cox also said Woelfersheim’s motivation was not clear.

The fire on Carman Road was the second one in the Fort Hunter Fire District within the span of one month. On Sept. 3, a vacant home at 3494 East Lydius Street burned down.

Cox said the Guilderland Fire Cause and Origin Team would investigate whether there were connections between the two fires.

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