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Laurel teenager charged with arson

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Published on: Friday, April 12, 2013

By Jim Davis

Prince George’s County fire investigators and police arrested a Laurel teenager for an arson fire at an apartment building in Laurel late Tuesday night.

Just before 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, a doormat was set on fire on the first floor of the three-story apartment building in the 8700 block of Contee Road.

About 24 hours later, on Wednesday night, Prince George’s County Police Department patrol officers stopped a teenager who police believe was connected to a vandalism complaint that occurred in the same area as the fire Tuesday night.

Police detained the teenager until Prince George’s County fire investigators arrived on the scene, said Mark Brady, Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department spokesman.

Investigators questioned the teenage suspect, and, according to Brady, based on his statements, fire investigators and police had enough information to arrest him the following day.

The teenager has been charged with first-degree arson. Additional charges are pending as the investigation remains open and ongoing, Brady said.

The quick arrest was a result of increased police presence after several playground and building fires occurred in Laurel, Brady said.

According to fire officials, fire investigators don’t believe that the teenager was involved in seven arson fires in the Laurel area earlier this year.

At a press conference last Thursday at Laurel Police Department, Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor said, “Arson is a heinous crime that we take very seriously in Prince George ’s County. ... I appeal to anyone who knows something about these incidents to come forward.”

Investigators are still in need of additional information from the community about who may be responsible for the other arsons.

The City of Laurel is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible. Call the Arson Tip Line at 301-77-ARSON (27766) with whatever information you may have.

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