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December 04, 2023

Main Line doctor allegedly lit Lower Merion home on fire after threatening family, police say

Amy L. Cohen, 35, of Narberth, is accused of burning the property's front door and intimidating the owner and her relatives

Investigations Arson
Amy Cohen Arson Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Amy L. Cohen, 35, of Narberth, allegedly started a fire at a property in Lower Merion on Nov. 30 after making threats against the homeowner and her family, authorities said.

A Montgomery County doctor is facing multiple charges for allegedly starting a fire at a home in Lower Merion Township last Thursday.

Amy L. Cohen, 35, of Narberth, allegedly left a threatening message outside the house and mailed similar letters to the homeowner's family members in the days before the fire. Investigators said Cohen previously was in a relationship with the boyfriend of one of the homeowner's granddaughters, who don't live at the house.

A message left at the house on Nov. 24 included photos of the two granddaughters, each with their eyes crossed out, police said. It allegedly warned the homeowner that her granddaughters needed to "quit their jobs and move out of Pennsylvania."

One of the granddaughters told investigators that she recently had shared a pro-Israel statement on social media. She said her father and mother, who live separately, received letters stating that their daughters were "promoting Islamophobia." Police said the letters referenced antisemitic language and warned that the sisters would be hurt if they did not leave the state.

At 1:30 a.m. Thursday, the Ring camera at the grandmother's house captured a person starting a fire outside the home and then attempting to make it bigger by spraying a liquid at the flames, police said. The fire went out on its own before it spread and there were no injuries reported. 

Amy Cohen MugshotSource/Montgomery County D.A.
Investigators said they found burned material outside and signs of smoke damage to the front area of the home. There also were signs of flammable liquid on the door, window and front wall of the home.

Investigators identified Cohen as a suspect and obtained warrants to search her home and car. Authorities allegedly found clothing, starter fluid and copies of the letters that had been shared with the homeowner and her family members, according to court documents. 

Cohen was charged with attempted murder, arson, ethnic intimidation, terroristic threats, stalking and related offenses. She is being held at Montgomery County Correctional Facility in lieu of bail set at $5 million.

Cohen's social media says she is a physician at Bryn Mawr Hospital. Authorities said detectives met her at her workplace Friday to gather evidence as they executed their search warrants. A staff bio for Cohen has been removed from the website of the Bryn Mawr Medical Specialists Association.

The Lower Merion Fire Department, Pennsylvania State Police, the FBI and other agencies assisted Lower Merion police with the investigation.