A Boston College undergraduate student from China is facing criminal charges for allegedly lighting a series of small fires in academic buildings on the campus earlier this month.
Boston College officials said Pengliang Yue, a junior from Shenzhen, China, was arrested by BC police Tuesday night after he confessed to setting the fires. Yue had been enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences at BC, but has since been suspended and barred from the campus, according to Boston College spokesman Jack Dunn.
Yue was arraigned Wednesday in Newton District Court on one count of arson, three counts of attempted arson, four counts of malicious destruction of property and one count of disorderly conduct. He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released after posting $2,500 bail, according to the court clerk’s office.
Yue’s arrest came after weeks of investigation into three small fires that were apparently set inside two academic buildings on Nov. 9.
One of the suspicious fires was lit in Gasson Hall, a century-old building with a Gothic tower that is considered to be BC’s signature building on campus. It houses the office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, as well as event space and classrooms.
That same evening, the sprinkler system at Stokes Hall went off to extinguish a fire that had broken out on the third and fourth floors of the north wing. The building, which opened in January, sustained water and smoke damage on the fourth floor. There were no injuries in either incident.
“They were small fires, but the police and the Newton Fire Department quickly determined that they had been set,” said Dunn. “The investigation has been ongoing since.”
Yue is due to return to Newton District Court on Dec. 30, the clerk’s office said. Yue's attorney, Peter Harrington of Newton, could not be reached for comment.