WESTMINSTER — City police and investigators from the State Fire Marshal's Office arrested a 29-year-old East Main Street man yesterday and charged him with setting several small fires at the Winchester Exchange Sept. 6.
Police also charged James Henry Cassidy with theft and breaking and entering in connection with the January burglary of Tige's, a baseball card store formerly located in the Winchester Exchange, said Detective Lt. Dean Brewer.
Cassidy faces eight counts of arson, four counts of breaking and entering with intent to commit a felony, and five counts of maliciousdestruction.
He also faces one count each of breaking and entering of a storehouse, breaking and stealing from a shop, and theft under$300, court records show.
Each arson charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, Brewer said.
The arson charges stem from several small fires at the Winchester Exchange that slightly damaged the Unique Jewelry store and the building manager's office.
A sprinkler system extinguished the fire in the jewelry store before firefighters arrived at 11 p.m.
The fire in the manager's office was put out by Mark B. Fleming, an editor at The Carroll County Sun who was working on the second floor of the building. The sprinkler system in the jewelry shop tripped an alarm that alerted him to the fire.
Units from Westminster, Pleasant Valley, Reese and Reisterstown in Baltimore County responded to the fire.
Fleming told investigators he saw a man run down a second-floor hallway and out an open door at the end of the hall.
Investigators found broken panes of glass in the doors of the manager's office and jewelry shop and a footprint onthe second floor. Blood was found on the floor outside the jewelry store, police said.
Brewer said a telephone tip led police to interview Cassidy. The lieutenant said the caller told police Cassidy fit the description of the arson suspect published in a local newspaper.
Brewer also said forensic evidence found at the fire scene led police to Cassidy, who did remodeling work in the building in the past.
The breaking and entering and theft charges were filed after police discovered some of the missing baseball cards in Cassidy's apartment, Brewer said.
Damage from the arson and breaking and entering was estimated at $15,300.
Cassidy turned himself in to police early yesterday morning. He was being held late last night at the Carroll County Detention Center on $65,000 bond.
A bail review hearing was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. today.