Melissa J. Boseck

A Berks County district judge Tuesday increased the bail amount tenfold for a Bern Township woman accused of setting fire to her neighbor’s backyard shed Christmas Eve day.

Melissa J. Boseck, 38, repeatedly disrupted the bail discussion that followed her preliminary hearing after District Judge Brian K. Strand ordered her held for court on all charges, including arson and risking and catastrophe.

After the judge’s ruling, Boseck's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Chad Hienz, requested her $10,000 bail be lowered, but Strand instead raised it to $100,000.

Strand told the Reading Eagle after the proceeding that Boseck interrupted his discussion with counsel and argued with him.

When he threatened to raise the amount, Boseck told him to go ahead, and suggested $100,000, so he did.

Unable to post the bail, constables returned Boseck to the county prison to await further court proceedings.

According to Bern police:

The property owner called police Dec. 24 about 8:15 a.m. to report that Boseck was setting a fire in his backyard in the 1000 block of Rick Road.

Police Officer Peter O’Brien arrived and saw Boseck, who was known to him, crouched next to a wood shed holding a lighter.

He saw her igniting a plastic bucket, wood and other materials that were placed against the shed, causing the exterior of the structure to burn.

O’Brien pushed Boseck away from the fire and kicked the pile of burning materials away from the shed, but the fire was not extinguished.

He put Boseck in the back of his patrol car at the front of the home. When he returned to the backyard the homeowner was using a garden hose to put out the fire. The homeowner pointed out that two windows had been broken by pieces of wood hurled through the glass.

O’Brien determined the fire was intentionally set against the shed in an attempt to cause damage.

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