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  1. #21
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    Post June 15th

    MOUNT RAINIER, Md. (AP) - A suspicious fire in an apartment
    building early Tuesday became the 39th blaze in the past 15 months
    to be investigated by the Washington area's arson task force.
    The blaze broke out in a stairwell between the second and third
    stories of the 1960's era garden-style apartment building in a
    massive complex less than one mile east of Washington.
    "This fire was deliberately set," said Capt. Chauncey Bowers
    of the Prince George's County Fire and Emergency Medical Services
    Department. He said the building and circumstances are similar to
    other apartment fires on the list.
    Five people were treated for smoke inhalation, including four
    who had to be rescued by firefighters from the third floor.
    Residents were unable to reach a fire extinguisher in the hallway
    because of the smoke and flames.
    "Thank God there was somebody up who was able to see the
    blaze," said Shawanda Hardy, 33, a second floor resident of the
    building.
    She escaped with her husband and children after she was alerted
    by the shouts of neighbors.
    Of the 39 fires under investigation, Tuesday's was the 16th in
    Prince George's County. Investigators believe that 14 fires and one
    attempted arson on the list are conclusively linked.
    A reward of $35,000 has been offered for information leading to
    an arrest and indictment in the cases. Since April, three fires
    have occurred at mid-month. Fourteen of the fires on the list
    occurred last June.
    Most of the fires have occurred in the overnight hours outside
    of occupied dwellings. Although investigators did not immediately
    determine whether a flammable liquid was involved in the latest
    blaze, some residents reported smelling gasoline, Bowers said.
    ---
    On the Net:
    Arson Task Force: http://www.pgfireems.com


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  2. #22
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    Here is the list of 39 cases being investigated by the Arson
    Task Force. There have been 18 fires and one attempted arson in the
    District of Columbia, 16 fires in Prince George's County, Md., one
    fire in Alexandria, Va., two fires in Fairfax County, Va., and one
    fire in Montgomery County, Md.
    An asterisk (.) means it is one of the 15 cases conclusively
    linked to one another. However, since February 2004, the Arson Task
    Force has stopped conclusively linking cases, and simply adds them
    to the list of cases being investigated.
    District of Columbia:
    March 8, 2003: 1700 D St., SE
    March 25, 2003: 2030 Jasper Road, SE
    May 15, 2003: 4026 Southern Avenue, SE
    May 17, 2003: 3367 Alden Place, NE
    May 20, 2003: 1737 Trinidad Avenue, NE
    May 22, 2003: 105 53rd Street, NE
    June 5, 2003: 2800 Evarts Street, NE - killed Lou Edna Jones, 86
    June 5, 2003: 1415 Ames Place, NE
    June 9,2003: 2500 N Street, SE
    June 10, 2003: 5038 Drake Place, SE
    June 25, 2003: 4920 North Capitol Street, NW (.)
    June 25, 2003: 1901 13th Street, NW
    June 30, 2003: 2500 Randolph Street, NE
    July 2, 2003: 300 block of 17th Street, SE
    Sep. 8, 2003: 200 block of Quakenbos Street, NW (.)
    Sep. 10, 2003: 4700 block of Dix Street, NE (.)
    Sep. 14, 2003: 4115 Anacostia Ave., NE (.) -- attempted arson,
    suspect chased before fire could be started
    Oct. 8, 2003: 1300 block of Otis St., NE (.)
    Nov. 11, 2003: 1700 block of 24th St., NE (.)
    Prince George's County, Md.:
    April 1, 2003: 1500 block of Mystic Avenue, Oxon Hill.
    April 20, 2003: 5700 Jay Street, Fairmount Heights
    May 27, 2003: 2900 St. Claire Drive, Marlow Heights
    May 29, 2003: 1226 Benning Road, Capitol Heights
    June 13, 2003: 3808 Ellis Street, Boulevard Heights (.)
    June 17, 2003: 924 Abel Avenue, Capitol Heights
    June 17, 2003: 5800 Jefferson Heights Drive, Fairmount Heights
    (.)
    June 19, 2003: 2916 Southern Avenue, Capitol Heights
    June 20, 2003: 1315 Chapel Oaks Drive, Chapel Oaks (.)
    June 21, 2003: 2406 Wintergreen Avenue, District Heights (.)
    June 22, 2003: 1505 Ruston Avenue, District Heights (.)
    Sep. 4, 2003: 5100 block of Barnaby Run Drive, Oxon Hill (.)
    Dec. 20, 2003: 5700 block of 83rd Place, New Carrollton (.)
    Jan. 22, 2004: 3814 55th Avenue, Bladensburg (.)
    June 15, 2004: 4200 block of Russell Avenue, Mount Rainier
    Montgomery County, Md.:
    Feb. 14, 2004: 7700 block of Blair Road, Silver Spring
    Alexandria, Va.:
    Nov. 16, 2003: 4400 block of West Braddock Road (.)
    Fairfax County, Va.:
    Feb. 6, 2004: 7100 block of Richmond Highway (Alexandria section
    of county)
    May 13, 2004: 3400 block of Beachcraft Drive (Alexandria section
    of county)
    Source: Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department


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  3. #23
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    Fire in vacant apartment complex could be added to task force
    probe

    WASHINGTON (AP) - A suspicious fire at a vacant apartment
    complex in Southeast is being investigated as a possible case of
    arson. The blaze broke out just before eleven p-m at an unoccupied
    complex in the 28-hundred block of Hartford Street, Southeast. The
    blaze broke out in one of the vacant apartments.
    Although investigators from the D-C Fire and Emergency Medical
    Services Department were conducting the preliminary probe, W-U-S-A
    T-V is reporting that the regional arson task force may be asked to
    take a look at the case.
    The task force has been investigating a string of fires that
    have plagued the Washington region since March of last year. Of
    more than 40 suspicious fires they have checked out, 18 cases of
    arson and one attempted arson have occurred in the District.

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  4. #24
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    Post August 30th

    FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) - Members of the Arson Task Force were
    investigating a Fairfax County house fire to see if it was the work
    of the Washington region's serial arsonist.
    Firefighters were called to a single family home in the county's
    Huntington section early Monday. No one was home and there were no
    injuries. About an hour after county fire investigators arrived, a
    decision was made to alert the task force which is investigating
    dozens of other cases.
    "It's still at the very initial stages of the investigation. So
    at this point it's too soon to say anything as far as any type of
    linkage to the serial arsonist," said Mike Campbell, a spokesman
    for the Washington Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol,
    Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. ATF is among the member agencies
    of the task force.
    Thirty-nine cases dating to March 8, 2003, are already being
    investigated by the Arson Task Force. Most are in the District of
    Columbia and neighboring Prince George's County, Md., but there are
    two earlier cases in Fairfax County from February and May of this
    year. There are also cases in Alexandria, Va., and Montgomery
    County, Md.
    The last fire added to the list occurred June 15 in the Mount
    Rainier section of Prince George's. Monday's incident had some
    similarities to many of the other cases, with the fire beginning in
    the early hours of the morning on the outside of the house.
    "Apparently, a neighbor noticed the fire and contacted 911, and
    the neighbor went over and attempted to extinguish the fire," said
    Lt. Raul Castillo, a spokesman for the Fairfax County Fire and
    Rescue Department. He said it began near the front door, about an
    hour after the homeowner left for work. Damage was minimal.
    In February, the task force released a detailed sketch of a
    suspect, based on the description of one witness who was at an
    attempted arson in Northeast Washington on Sept. 14.
    A June 5, 2003, fire in Northeast Washington killed an elderly
    woman.



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  5. #25
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    Post Back Again??

    BLADENSBURG, Md. - Prince George's County fire officials say a
    fire set in Bladensburg this morning appears to be the work of the
    serial arsonist.
    Fire and rescue spokesman Mark Brady says the serial arsonists
    task force has been called to the scene. The fire started in the
    stairwell of an apartment building at the Hilltop Manor Apartments
    on 53rd Avenue around 5 a-m.
    Brady says the fire was caused by a flammable liquid, at an
    occupied dwelling, in the early morning hours -- those elements are
    characteristics of the serial arsonist.
    Three residents had to be rescued from their second floor
    apartments. No one was seriously hurt but two people are said to be
    driving themselves to a local hospital for treatment of smoke
    inhalation.
    Brady says the serial arsonists has stuck in Prince George's
    County at least 17 times.


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  6. #26
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    Post Arson aimed at Military?

    SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) - Fire investigators in three area
    counties are trying to determine whether government passenger cars
    used by military recruiters are being targeted for arson.
    The three latest cases involved cars authorized for Army use
    that were parked outside of a recruiting office in the 82-hundred
    block of Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring. They were burned early
    Monday.
    The case is similar to an incident that occurred outside of a
    military recruiting office in Fairfax last Monday. The Washington
    Post reports that a car parked near a recruiting station in
    76-hundred block of Richmond Highway was burned. Another vehicle
    was burned early Friday in the 13-thousand 900 block of Lee-Jackson
    Memorial Highway.
    Arson investigators in Prince George's County are checking their
    records to see if they have any cases that fit a similar profile.
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  7. #27
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    Post December 8th

    BLADENSBURG, Md. (AP) - Arson investigators on the scene of an
    apartment fire Tuesday said it was likely the work of a serial
    arsonist who has now struck 45 times in the Washington, D.C.,
    region.
    The fire broke out just before 5 a.m. in the stairwell of a
    four-unit building at the Hilltop Manner Apartments. Lawrence
    Brown, 58, had just woken up for his bus route with the Prince
    George's County Schools.
    "I heard someone walking around upstairs," Brown said. "I
    heard the door slam, and when I walked back into my living room it
    was filled with smoke."
    Brown looked for a fire in his apartment but didn't see flames
    until he opened his front door and the stairwell was engulfed. It
    was the only way in or out besides the windows. Brown said he was
    startled but managed to climb out his back bedroom window.
    Neighbors said they didn't see anyone unusual in the area.
    Upstairs residents in the two-story building were hanging out
    their windows when firefighters arrived, said Mark Brady, spokesman
    for Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department. Two residents drove
    themselves to the hospital with minor smoke inhalation.
    The front door to the building was unlocked because a key pad
    had not yet been wired, said John Darby, a maintenance worker at
    the apartment complex.
    The early morning timing, the occupied building and the use of
    an ignitable liquid all pointed firefighters on the scene to
    suspect the serial arsonist, Brady said.
    From the smell, "it was easy to detect an ignitable liquid,"
    Brady said.
    Arson Task Force investigators were called in and interviewed
    witnesses, surveyed the damage and took fingerprints. Brady said
    damage to the stairwell totaled about $5,000 to $10,000.
    It was the first time the serial arsonist struck since a Sept.
    23 fire in Wheaton, Md., in Montgomery County. He is also suspected
    of starting fires in the District of Columbia and northern
    Virginia. Most of the fires have been at single family homes and
    only a handful were at apartments. A June 5, 2003, D.C. blaze
    killed an elderly woman.
    "It's totally random," Brady said. "There's no rhyme or
    reason we can tell at this point for his targets."
    The regional Arson Task Force is offering a $35,000 reward for
    information that helps solve the case.
    "Somebody out there knows something about the individual
    involved," Brady said. "We need to hear about it."
    ---
    On the Net:
    Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department:
    http://www.pgfireems.com


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  8. #28
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    Post Dec.13th

    WASHINGTON (AP) - Firefighters returned Monday to a Northeast
    Washington neighborhood targeted several times by the region's
    serial arsonist.
    "People are very worried, and I understand that. A lot of the
    folks in the neighborhood are worried when they go to bed at night
    that this person might make them a target," said Battalion Chief
    Gary Palmer of the District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical
    Services Department.
    Palmer and his crew canvassed the area around the scene of
    Friday's fire - the 46th case linked to the arsonist. No one was
    hurt in that blaze, but in June 2003, an elderly woman was killed
    in another fire on the list barely half a mile away. Firefighters
    went door to door Monday, trying to reassure residents and offering
    advice on staying safe.
    "Leaving your porch light on, leaving your rear lights on,
    removing combustibles away from your home," Palmer said.
    The arsonist is blamed for 45 fires and one attempted arson in
    D.C. and several Maryland and Virginia suburbs.


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  9. #29
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    Federal charges dropped against suspect in serial arsons

    WASHINGTON (AP) - The only person ever identified as a suspect
    in the D-C area's serial arson case remains behind bars, even
    though he no longer faces a federal charge.
    Thirty-three-year-old Noel Gibson of Riverdale Heights was
    arrested in March of last year after, investigators say, he told
    them he worked for the Fairfax County Fire Department and that his
    name was Haywood Phillip Marshall.
    Gibson was accused of showing up at Magnolia Elementary School
    in Prince George's County, claiming to be a fire investigator and
    asking for a list of teachers and other information. An affidavit
    says Gibson carried "an identification card for Michael Keyes of
    the Prince George's County Fire Department."
    Gibson was not charged in connection with any of the area's 44
    arsons, but he spent nearly seven-and-a-half months behind bars on
    the charges of lying to investigators. The arsons continued while
    Gibson remained in jail.
    The U-S Attorney dismissed the charges in November, but the
    dismissal motion says there are pending prosecutions against
    Gibson, so he remains in jail.


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  10. #30
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    Post

    Johnson proposes search authority for arson investigators


    UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (AP) - Prince George's County fire
    investigators may have a new tool in their search for the serial
    arsonist who's set 44 fires in the Washington area over the past 22
    months.
    County Executive Jack Johnson wants to give them the power to
    search property. They're currently allowed to make arrests, but
    aren't allowed to conduct searches unless police are present.
    The county's lobbyist says Johnson has proposed legislation in
    Annapolis to give fire investigators search authority because it
    will be more efficient.
    It's one of several items on Johnson's legislative agenda for
    the 2005 General Assembly session, beginning next week.
    The plan also includes bills to close liquor stores between
    midnight and 6 a-m.

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  11. #31
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    Post

    WASHINGTON (AP) - As the second anniversary of the start of the
    serial arsons approaches, investigators on Tuesday upped the ante
    to find the suspect. They nearly tripled the reward - from $35,000
    to $100,000 - for information that leads to the arrest and
    conviction of the person behind more than 40 fires.
    The arsons began March 8, 2003, in the District of Columbia.
    Since then, there have also been cases in Prince George's and
    Montgomery counties in Maryland, and Fairfax County and the City of
    Alexandria in Virginia. The most recent was Dec. 10 in Northeast
    Washington.
    Forty-five fires and one attempted arson are linked to the
    suspect. A Northeast Washington fire on June 5, 2003 - one of two
    that day - killed an elderly woman.
    According to the Arson Task Force, the extra reward money came
    from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which
    gave $60,000, and the Montgomery County Department of Fire and
    Rescue Services, which added $5,000.


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  12. #32
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    WASHINGTON (AP) - Here is the list of 48 cases being
    investigated by the Arson Task Force. There have been 24 fires and
    1 attempted arson in the District of Columbia, 17 fires in Prince
    George's County, Md., 2 fires in Montgomery County, Md., 1 fire in
    Alexandria, Va., and 3 fires in Fairfax County, Va.

    District of Columbia:

    March 8, 2003: 1705 D St., SE
    March 25, 2003: 2030 Jasper Street, SE
    April 28, 2003: 3708 4th Street, SE
    May 15, 2003: 4026 Southern Avenue, SE
    May 16, 2003: 2928 10th Street, NE
    May 17, 2003: 3367 Alden Place, NE
    May 20, 2003: 1737 Trinidad Avenue, NE
    May 22, 2003: 105 53rd Street, NE
    June 5, 2003: 2800 Evarts Street, NE -- killed Lou Edna Jones,
    86
    June 5, 2003: 1415 Ames Place, NE
    June 9,2003: 2500 N Street, SE
    June 10, 2003: 5038 Drake Place, SE
    June 25, 2003: 4920 North Capitol Street, NW
    June 25, 2003: 1901 15th Street, NW
    June 30, 2003: 2505 Randolph Street, NE
    July 2, 2003: 316 17th Street, SE
    Sep. 8, 2003: 202 Quakenbos Street, NW
    Sep. 10, 2003: 4713 Dix Street, NE
    Sep. 14, 2003: 4115 Anacostia Ave., NE -- attempted arson,
    suspect chased before fire could be started
    Oct. 8, 2003: 1315 Otis St., NE
    Nov. 11, 2003: 1700 block of 24th St., NE
    Sep. 8, 2004: 2800 block of Channing St., NE -- car fire
    Sep. 20, 2004: 2804 30th St., NE
    Dec. 6, 2004: 5055 11th Street, NE
    Dec. 10, 2004: 3000 block of Yost Pl., NE

    Prince George's County, Md.:

    April 1, 2003: 1500 block of Mystic Avenue, Oxon Hill
    April 8, 2003: 1813 Jarvis Avenue, Oxon Hill
    May 10, 2003: 1505 Fenwood Avenue, Oxon Hill
    June 13, 2003: 3808 Ellis Street, Boulevard Heights
    June 17, 2003: 924 Abel Avenue, Capitol Heights
    June 17, 2003: 5800 Jefferson Heights Drive, Fairmount Heights
    June 19, 2003: 2619 Southern Avenue, Capitol Heights
    June 20, 2003: 1315 Chapel Oaks Drive, Chapel Oaks
    June 21, 2003: 2406 Wintergreen Avenue, District Heights
    June 22, 2003: 1505 Ruston Avenue, District Heights
    Sep. 4, 2003: 5101 Barnaby Run Drive, Oxon Hill
    Dec. 20, 2003: 5702 83rd Place, New Carrollton
    Jan. 22, 2004: 3418 55th Avenue, Bladensburg
    Apr. 16, 2004: 2401 Rosecroft Village Circle East, Oxon Hill
    June 15, 2004: 4200 block of Russell Avenue, Mount Rainier
    Sept. 17, 2004: 6302 49th Avenue, Riverdale Park
    Dec. 7, 2004: 4205 53rd Avenue, Bladensburg

    Montgomery County, Md.:

    Feb. 14, 2004: 7700 block of Blair Road, Silver Spring
    Sep. 23, 2004: 10817 Amherst Ave., Wheaton

    Alexandria, Va.:

    Nov. 16, 2003: 4410 West Braddock Road

    Fairfax County, Va.:

    Feb. 6, 2004: 7101 Richmond Highway (Alexandria section of
    county)
    May 13, 2004: 3403 Beachcraft Drive (Alexandria section of
    county)
    Aug. 30, 2004: 4012 Elmwood Drive (Huntington section of county)

    Source: Arson Task Force


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  13. #33
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    WASHINGTON (AP) - At 5:42 tomorrow morning, it will be exactly
    two years since the serial arsonist first struck.
    He remains on the loose.
    The first fire was set early on March 8th, 2003. The target was
    a home at 1705 'D' Street, in Southeast Washington. Since then, the
    arsonist has branched out -- starting fires in three quadrants of
    the District, plus Prince George's, Montgomery and Fairfax
    counties, as well as the City of Alexandria.
    The list has been amended several times, but the Arson Task
    Force puts the current total at 48 cases. One of them -- a June
    2003 blaze in Northeast D-C -- killed 86-year-old Lou Edna Jones.
    Hoping that money would talk, the task force earlier this month
    nearly tripled the reward to 100-thousand dollars. There's also a
    sketch of a possible suspect that's been circulated since February
    of last year. But still, the arsonist remains on the loose.

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    Post April 5, 2005

    WASHINGTON (AP) - The Arson Task Force was called to investigate
    whether a house fire was the work of the D-C region's serial
    arsonist.
    The home in suburban Takoma Park, Maryland, was gutted, but no
    one was hurt in yesterday's fire. Damage was estimated at
    400-thousand dollars.
    Authorities feared the fire might have been started by a serial
    arsonist who has struck at least 48 times in Washington and several
    suburbs since March 8th, 2003. The last fire linked to the arsonist
    occurred December 10th of last year in northeast Washington.
    Authorities say the fire is believed to have started on or under
    the front porch, where combustibles such as gasoline were stored.
    The fire's origin is similar to other cases attributed to the
    arsonist. But authorities say the arsonist generally strikes in the
    pre-dawn hours, and yesterday's fire started just before 7:30 a-m.
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  15. #35
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    Quick question...

    Have they looked at the Hunter's Brook peopple for any of the DC arsons?

  16. #36
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    I have seen no mention of that. While geographically possible....I still think it would be a stretch for these individuals to be involved in the DC arsons....but not impossible. I would also assume that the Task Force has interviewed them, or looked at investigators findings for similarities.
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    GREENBELT, Md. (AP) - The man suspected of being the Washington
    area's serial arsonist will be back in court Friday for a detention
    hearing.
    Fifty-year-old Thomas Sweatt made his initial appearance in
    Greenbelt federal court after his arrest yesterday.
    He wore tinted eyeglasses and a blue dress shirt, and his
    graying hair appeared somewhat disheveled. He spoke quietly,
    answering "yes" when the judge asked if he understood the
    charges.
    Sweatt is charged with offenses relating to two fires in
    Maryland and three in the District. The charges include arson and
    illegal possession of a destructive device.
    In charging documents, prosecutors say Sweatt set the fires
    using a device consisting of a one gallon jug, a plastic bag and
    gasoline. He allegedly lit a cloth he attached to it.

    (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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  18. #38
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    Here is the list of 48 cases being investigated by the Arson
    Task Force. There have been 24 fires and 1 attempted arson in the
    District of Columbia, 17 fires in Prince George's County, Md., 2
    fires in Montgomery County, Md., 1 fire in Alexandria, Va., and 3
    fires in Fairfax County, Va.

    District of Columbia:

    March 8, 2003: 1705 D St., SE
    March 25, 2003: 2030 Jasper Street, SE
    April 28, 2003: 3708 4th Street, SE
    May 15, 2003: 4026 Southern Avenue, SE
    May 16, 2003: 2928 10th Street, NE
    May 17, 2003: 3367 Alden Place, NE
    May 20, 2003: 1737 Trinidad Avenue, NE
    May 22, 2003: 105 53rd Street, NE
    June 5, 2003: 2800 Evarts Street, NE -- killed Lou Edna Jones,
    86
    June 5, 2003: 1415 Ames Place, NE
    June 9,2003: 2500 N Street, SE
    June 10, 2003: 5038 Drake Place, SE
    June 25, 2003: 4920 North Capitol Street, NW
    June 25, 2003: 1901 15th Street, NW
    June 30, 2003: 2505 Randolph Street, NE
    July 2, 2003: 316 17th Street, SE
    Sep. 8, 2003: 202 Quakenbos Street, NW
    Sep. 10, 2003: 4713 Dix Street, NE
    Sep. 14, 2003: 4115 Anacostia Ave., NE -- attempted arson,
    suspect chased before fire could be started
    Oct. 8, 2003: 1315 Otis St., NE
    Nov. 11, 2003: 1700 block of 24th St., NE
    Sep. 8, 2004: 2800 block of Channing St., NE -- car fire
    Sep. 20, 2004: 2804 30th St., NE
    Dec. 6, 2004: 5055 11th Street, NE
    Dec. 10, 2004: 3000 block of Yost Pl., NE

    Prince George's County, Md.:

    April 1, 2003: 1500 block of Mystic Avenue, Oxon Hill
    April 8, 2003: 1813 Jarvis Avenue, Oxon Hill
    May 10, 2003: 1505 Fenwood Avenue, Oxon Hill
    June 13, 2003: 3808 Ellis Street, Boulevard Heights
    June 17, 2003: 924 Abel Avenue, Capitol Heights
    June 17, 2003: 5800 Jefferson Heights Drive, Fairmount Heights
    June 19, 2003: 2619 Southern Avenue, Capitol Heights
    June 20, 2003: 1315 Chapel Oaks Drive, Chapel Oaks
    June 21, 2003: 2406 Wintergreen Avenue, District Heights
    June 22, 2003: 1505 Ruston Avenue, District Heights
    Sep. 4, 2003: 5101 Barnaby Run Drive, Oxon Hill
    Dec. 20, 2003: 5702 83rd Place, New Carrollton
    Jan. 22, 2004: 3418 55th Avenue, Bladensburg
    Apr. 16, 2004: 2401 Rosecroft Village Circle East, Oxon Hill
    June 15, 2004: 4200 block of Russell Avenue, Mount Rainier
    Sept. 17, 2004: 6302 49th Avenue, Riverdale Park
    Dec. 7, 2004: 4205 53rd Avenue, Bladensburg

    Montgomery County, Md.:

    Feb. 14, 2004: 7700 block of Blair Road, Silver Spring
    Sep. 23, 2004: 10817 Amherst Ave., Wheaton

    Alexandria, Va.:

    Nov. 16, 2003: 4410 West Braddock Road

    Fairfax County, Va.:

    Feb. 6, 2004: 7101 Richmond Highway (Alexandria section of
    county)
    May 13, 2004: 3403 Beachcraft Drive (Alexandria section of
    county)
    Aug. 30, 2004: 4012 Elmwood Drive (Huntington section of county)

    Source: Arson Task Force


    (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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  19. #39
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    By DERRILL HOLLY
    Associated Press Writers
    WASHINGTON (AP) - DNA evidence led to the arrest Wednesday of a
    serial arson suspect wanted in connection with more than 40 fires
    that have occurred since March 8, 2003.
    Thomas Sweatt, 50, a fast food store manager from the District
    of Columbia, faces multiple charges in connection with arsons that
    have occurred in the district, suburban Maryland and northern
    Virginia.
    "This guy posed a huge threat to everyone's safety in our
    region," said Chief Charles H. Ramsey of the D.C. Metropolitan
    Police Department.
    The break in the investigation came last week after DNA samples
    extracted from a pair of U.S. Marine Corps issue dress-blue slacks
    was analyzed at the Montgomery County, Md., crime lab.
    "Those pants had DNA that matched DNA we found at other
    fires," said Theresa Stoop, special agent in charge of the
    Baltimore Field Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms
    and Explosives. The pants were found at the scene of an Arlington
    County, Va., fire that occurred Dec. 5, 2004, and was never added
    to the public list of fires under investigation by the arson task
    force.
    It is unclear how Sweatt obtained the military-issue pants, and
    authorities said there was no immediate indication he served in the
    armed forces. But investigators contacted the Naval Criminal
    Investigation Service and were informed that NCIS had investigated
    a string of vehicle arsons in early 2003. Although Sweatt was never
    charged in those cases, he was considered a suspect, Stoop said.
    "This threat is over, this nightmare has ended," said Stoop,
    who announced that Sweatt had been taken into custody in Prince
    George's County, Md.
    Sweatt was questioned by investigators for several hours
    Wednesday, and had reportedly confessed to at least one fire.
    Investigators did not expect to make any additional arrests in the
    case.
    Sweatt is charged with six federal counts in Maryland and five
    in D.C. At his initial court appearance late Wednesday afternoon in
    Greenbelt, Md., federal court, Sweatt spoke quietly, answering
    "yes" when the judge asked if he understood the charges. A
    detention hearing is set for Friday morning.
    The arrest came as a relief for both residents and officials
    worried when the elusive arsonist would strike again.
    "All of us were victims of the serial arsonist as all of us
    remained on edge not knowing where this person would strike next,"
    said D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams. The fires were linked to the
    probe by common evidence: gasoline used as an accelerant,
    one-gallon plastic containers found at the scenes, plastic bags and
    cloth material used as wicks.
    "We were out of our home and in a hotel for eight months,"
    said Markos Kebede, whose New Carrollton, Md., home was damaged in
    a fire that occurred on Dec. 20, 2003. Fear lingered even after
    their home was repaired.
    "We were afraid. That's why we got the alarm system," Kebede
    said.
    Sweatt has not been charged with murder in the June 5, 2003,
    fire that killed Lou Edna Jones, 86. of Northeast Washington, but
    Ramsey said those charges are pending.
    Co-workers at the KFC-Pizza Hut store where Sweatt works were
    also questioned by investigators.
    "It's just shocking to me. He was real soft spoken. He was a
    fatherly, shy type figure," said Joseph Hunter, 34, a KFC cook who
    has worked there two months. The store was closed Wednesday.
    "While we have had no reason to suspect any wrongdoing, we are
    fully cooperating with the authorities in this investigation," KFC
    spokeswoman Bonnie Warschauer said in a statement from the
    company's Louisville, Ky., headquarters.
    Investigators also searched portions of an apartment building
    Sweatt owned with his sister in Southeast Washington. The two have
    lived in separate apartments in the four-unit building for at least
    15 years. Sweatt was often seen sweeping sidewalks and picking up
    litter along Lebaum Street.
    "He would start at the front of the block and clean all the way
    past his building, just to make the neighborhood a better place,"
    said Jose Muse, 31, who owns the building next to Sweatt's.
    "He and his sister are good people, when you see them all
    they're doing is fixing up buildings, cleaning up and doing good
    things for the community," said Antwan Drayton, who lives across
    the street.
    ---
    Associated Press Writers Lisa Goddard and Marty Niland
    contributed to this report.


    (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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  20. #40
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    By BRIAN WESTLEY
    Associated Press Writer
    GREENBELT, Md. (AP) - The man who investigators believe is
    responsible for dozens of arsons in the Washington area is addicted
    to setting fires and would strike again if given the chance,
    prosecutors said Friday.
    Thomas A. Sweatt, 50, appeared in U.S. District Court in
    Greenbelt for a detention hearing, where a judge ordered him held
    without bond until trial, saying he posed a clear danger to the
    community.
    "He enjoys it, your honor," Assistant U.S. Attorney Mythili
    Raman said. "There is no doubt in the government's mind that if he
    was released, he would continue to set these fires."
    In urging U.S. Magistrate Judge William Connelly to keep Sweatt
    in custody, Raman noted that the fires were repeatedly set despite
    intense media coverage, a $100,000 reward and a sketch of the
    suspect.
    Prosecutors also told the judge that Sweatt, when questioned by
    investigators this week, implicated himself in more than 30 fires.
    They said he even made a New Year's resolution in a failed attempt
    to stop.
    So far, Sweatt, who lives in Southeast Washington, faces 11
    federal charges in connection with four fires and an attempted
    arson in Maryland and the district. It is not clear where he will
    stand trial first.
    He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.
    The two-year string of arsons began in March 2003, with many of
    the fires set on porches by lighting a plastic jug filled with
    gasoline and cloth material used as a wick.
    One of the fires, set on June 5, 2003, killed 86-year-old Lou
    Edna Jones, who lived in Northeast Washington. No charges have been
    filed in that case.
    Authorities have said they linked Sweatt to the fires after
    collecting DNA from items found at several of the crime scenes,
    including Marine Corps dress pants from a fire set in Arlington,
    Va.
    Prosecutors said Friday that Sweatt knew he was putting people
    in danger. In February 2004, they said, a fire was set in the
    stairwell of an apartment building in Silver Spring, trapping
    residents who had to be rescued by firefighters.
    "This is a man who acted deliberately, who acted knowingly,"
    Raman said.
    Sweatt's defense attorney, John C. Chamble, argued that he was
    in an unfair position to refute the prosecution's claims because he
    has not been able to review what Sweatt told investigators during
    questioning.
    "Show me the beef, show me something," he said.
    Chamble, chief of the Greenbelt office of the Federal Public
    Defender in Maryland, also sought to portray his client as a solid
    citizen.
    He said Sweatt, the manager of a fast-food restaurant, was
    well-regarded by his employees and had no history of drug abuse.
    Chamble urged the judge to allow Sweatt to remain out of jail with
    pretrial supervision.
    Sweatt, wearing a blue shirt and black pants, did not speak
    during the hearing.
    Outside the court, Darlene Lloyd, whose mother, Lou Edna Jones,
    died in one of the fires, said she frequently visited the KFC/Pizza
    Hut restaurant where Sweatt worked.
    "He probably waited on me and then turns around and takes my
    mother's life," she said.
    Outside Jones's home Friday evening, family, friends and fire
    officials gathered for a candlelight vigil. Together, they prayed,
    sang and remembered the woman nicknamed "Mama Lou."
    As someone played solemn music on a trumpet, about 60 people
    held candles and stood around a memorial on a chain link fence
    surrounding the still-charred home. Photos of Jones decorated the
    memorial, which was lined with teddy bears and balloons reading,
    "Happy Mother's Day." A neighbor had planted dozens of tulip
    bulbs, which were just blooming.
    Another of Jones's daughters, Carolyn Jones, 54, expressed joy
    that police had caught the man they believe is responsible for her
    mother's death.
    "I am thrilled that finally, after almost two years, he's been
    caught and he's about to get his just dues," she said.
    -----
    Associated Press Writer Theresa Dickie Branscome contributed to
    this report from Washington.


    (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
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