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ACPD: Shoplifting suspect tried to light fire inside police cruiser

Arlington County police car (staff photo)

A 30-year-old man has been charged with arson, among other crimes, after allegedly trying to light a fire inside an ACPD cruiser.

The incident started Tuesday morning at the Pentagon Centre shopping center in Pentagon City. Arlington County police say the suspect shoplifted from two separate stores before officers arrived and took him into custody.

That’s when things took a wild turn, with the suspect allegedly assaulting a police officer and later trying to light his seatbelt on fire with a “concealed lighter” while in the back of the police cruiser. On top of that, according to police, the man was determined to be a fugitive wanted by the U.S. Marshal’s Service.

From an ACPD crime report:

ASSAULT ON POLICE, 2024-02060102, 1200 block of S. Hayes Street. At approximately 10:52 a.m. on February 6, police were dispatches to the report of a larceny in progress. Upon arrival, it was determined the male suspect allegedly entered a business, concealed merchandise and exited the store without payment. The suspect then entered another nearby business, collected merchandise and subsequently exited the store without payment. Responding officers took the suspect into custody as he exited the store and the stolen merchandise was recovered. While in custody, the suspect provided false identification, was noncompliant and assaulted an officer, causing minor injuries. The suspect was then placed in a parked police cruiser where he produced a concealed lighter and set fire to his seatbelt, which was immediately extinguished by officers. The suspect did not sustain any injuries and was transported to an area hospital for evaluation. During the course of the investigation, it was determined the suspect was wanted by the U.S. Marshal’s Service. [The suspect], 30, of No Fixed Address was arrested and charged with Assault on Police, Identity Theft, Petit Larceny (x2), Arson, Fugitive from Justice and Obstruction of Justice. He was held without bond.

A person of the same name and approximate age as the suspect pled guilty to assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest in the District in 2020, according to D.C. Witness. He was also previously convicted of domestic violence and accused of violating a protective order.

“At the end of the day, he does need help,” the victim in the protective order case was quoted as saying, of the suspect. “But if y’all let him out and he does the same s*** anyway, then what?”

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