Criminal Justice News

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Baltimore Man Charged with Arson of CVS Pharmacy

“Civilized People Cannot Remain Impartial Between the Firefighter and the Arsonist”

Baltimore, Maryland – A criminal complaint has been filed charging Raymon Carter, age 24, of Baltimore, Maryland, with the arson of the CVS Pharmacy located at 2509 Pennsylvania Avenue in Baltimore, on April 27, 2015.

The criminal complaint was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge William P. McMullan of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Baltimore Field Division; Commissioner Anthony W. Batts of the Baltimore Police Department; and Maryland State Fire Marshal Brian Geraci.          

“To paraphrase Winston Churchill, civilized people cannot remain impartial between the firefighter and the arsonist,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “There is no excuse for callously destroying property, endangering peoples’ lives and damaging their livelihood. We must never confuse peaceful protests with riots. Many honorable Baltimore residents are stepping up to hold vandals accountable and protect the city.”

“Those committing arson took advantage of our city when we were most vulnerable.  Carter’s alleged actions caused over $1 million of damage to this community,” said Commissioner Anthony Batts of the Baltimore Police Department.  “Thanks to the hard work of the ATF and our detectives our hope is that we will never have to do this again. We owe a tremendous debt to the community that helped us to identify him. Thank you to our residents.”

On April 27, 2015, the CVS Pharmacy located at 2509 Pennsylvania Avenue in Baltimore was looted and burned.  On May 22, 2015, ATF released two still photographs of a suspect in the arson to the media and announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to the suspect’s identification, arrest and conviction.  According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, tips to the ATF Arson Hotline revealed that the suspect was Raymon Carter.

The criminal complaint was filed on June 25, 2015, and on June 29, 2015, the ATF released a “wanted” poster asking the community for information leading to the location and apprehension of Carter.  Carter was arrested yesterday and the complaint was unsealed today.

According to the affidavit, surveillance video from inside the store shows the looters running around the store in a frenzy to steal merchandise.  Unlike the looters, Carter is seen on surveillance video going to and from the southeast corner of the sales floor – which is the area of the origin of the fire - three separate times between 6:15 p.m. and 6:19 p.m.  The third time Carter is seen going to that corner of the store, he moves out of camera view, behind the shelves.  The time on the video is 6:19:34 p.m. At 6:19:57 p.m. a flash of light can be seen on the video, which is believed to be the ignition of the fire.  After the flash of light, Carter reappears on the surveillance video from behind the shelves and at 6:20:06 p.m. is seen running away from the area toward the CVS exit.  No other individual is seen on the surveillance video in the area of the fire from the time of the flash of light until Carter exits the store.  At 6:22:05 Carter is seen back in the store.  Flames in the southeast corner of the store become visible on the surveillance video at 6:22:19 p.m.  Fourteen seconds later Carter is seen walking towards the exit while looking back at the fire, and the looters are seen running toward the exit.  The Baltimore Fire Department was dispatched to the scene at 6:28 p.m.  According to the affidavit, two still photographs of Carter were extracted from video taken outside the CVS and were used in the reward flyer.

According to the affidavit, the CVS sustained approximately $1.3 million in damages.

The investigation into this and other arsons that occurred on April 27, 2015, is continuing.  Anyone with information is urged to call the ATF hotline, 1-888-ATF-FIRE (1-888-283-3473). ATF continues to offer a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any individual responsible for these incidents.

 Carter faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, and a maximum of 20 years in prison for arson.  An initial appearance was held today in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.  Carter was detained pending a detention hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephanie A. Gallagher on Tuesday, July 7, 2015 at 2:00 p.m.

A criminal complaint is not a finding of guilt.  An individual charged by criminal complaint is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the ATF, Baltimore Police Department, and Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Sandra Wilkinson, who is prosecuting the case.

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