Annapolis woman, 41, charged with setting fire to her store

November 11, 2003|By Molly Knight | Molly Knight,SUN STAFF

An Annapolis woman was charged yesterday with trying to burn down her store, the Deli-N-More at 8111 Fort Smallwood Road, in what authorities allege was a scheme to collect insurance money for remodeling.

Rita Donna Price, 41, of Orchard Beach was taken into custody after county fire investigators interviewed her about a blaze that broke out at her deli early Friday morning, causing an estimated $20,000 worth of damage.

According to investigators, a flammable substance was found on Price's hands, feet and the steering wheel of her car. When Price was questioned, police said, she confessed to setting the fire in an attempt to collect insurance money to remodel the store.

The single-alarm blaze was brought under control at approximately 7:45 a.m. Friday by more than 25 firefighters who responded to calls about smoke coming from the back of a strip of six stores on Fort Smallwood Road.

The fire caused minor smoke and water damage to Sunny Nails, located next to the deli, and some smoke damage to the four other neighboring businesses. No injuries were reported.

Price was charged with second-degree arson and malicious burning with the intent of fraud.

Arson carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison, and malicious burning carries a penalty of up to five years.

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