Former Maryland police chief set homes of people he disagreed with on fire as they slept, officials say


MARYLAND (WDVM) — Authorities say at least a dozen house fires in Maryland can be traced back to one man: 69-year-old former police chief David Crawford.

Crawford, who retired from his role as Chief of Police in Laurel, Maryland in 2010, was indicted Wednesday on 20 counts ranging from attempted first-degree murder to first-degree arson in connection with fires across the state.

Officials accuse Crawford of setting fire in the homes, vehicles and garages of those he had disagreements with since at least 12 times since 2011.

They say Crawford’s victims include a neighbor, two of his former physicians, a former city official and multiple former officers, including another former police chief. In six of the arsons, authorities say, the victims and their families were asleep in their homes.

WDVM reports officials said Crawford followed a pattern: wearing a hoodie with drawstrings tightly drawn to conceal his face, he visited the homes at night, poured gasoline and lit the fuel with a stick wrapped in cloth.

A break in the investigation came when investigators found a link between victims in 2020, after the last known fire.

In January, a search warrant executed in Crawford’s Ellicott City home revealed several “critical items of evidence” including a target list. Crawford was initially arrested on March 3 and indicted on those 20 counts this week.

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