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Columbia Teen Charged in Multiple Fires, Including Sears Fire

Police arrested the suspect after watching him flee from a dumpster fire at the Mall in Columbia.

Richard N. Mojica Jr., 18, of the 10300 Block of Swift Stream Place, was charged with 16 counts related to a number of fires throughout Columbia, including the Thursday morning fire in a at the Mall in Columbia, police said.

Mojica was charged Sunday with seven counts of arson, eight counts of malicious burning and one count of reckless endangerment, according to court records.

Police said Mojica caused an estimated $400,000 in damages and property loss. Mojica was arrested on Sunday morning after police and fire officials saw him running from a dumpster where a fire had been set near Lord and Taylor at the Mall in Columbia, according to police.

Police charged Mojica in relation to the following incidents, according to police and charging documents filed at District Court:

  • An April 19 paper fire set in a stairwell in the 10300 block of Swift Stream.
  • Two April 30 fires set in dumpsters in the 10400 block of Swift Stream Place. One fire was started outside an unoccupied building, causing more than $5,000 in estimated damage to its exterior. The second fire was inside the unoccupied building, but was contained in the dumpster.
  • A May 1 fire set in a trashcan near the Howard Hughes Building in the 10200 block of Little Patuxent Parkway.
  • A May 1 fire set in a recycling container in the 10400 block of Swift Stream Place.  
  • A May 1 fire set underneath the loading dock near Sears at the Mall in Columbia, 10300 block of Little Patuxent Parkway
  • A May 3 fire also set at the loading dock at Sears at the Mall in Columbia resulting in an estimated $30,000 in damage to the trailer and its contents at the 10300 block of Little Patuxent Parkway. 

Mojica is being held on a $500,000 bond at the Howard County Detention Center. He is scheduled to appear at District Court on June 5.

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ExRoot May 08, 2012 at 12:11 PM
$500,000? Many murderers don't have bail set that high. Perhaps it's. Ecause he has and has the future potential to cause such hign monetary damage and possibly death. This young man is in serious trouble.
jj May 09, 2012 at 01:06 PM
HIgh bail because they think he will leave the country. Perhap we can send the moron to the moon.
BOH May 09, 2012 at 03:41 PM
My oh my, a serial arsonist. That's some serious stuff there. It appears he really wanted to burn down his own residential community (the Columbia Town Center Apartments) and Sears, since he's charged with hitting each multiple times. I'm interested to know what police have connecting him to the April 19 - May 3 crimes, other than geography. I suppose the similarity of the incidents could've been the connection. Also, was he not charged with the May 6th arson near Lord & Taylor? That's not listed among the charges.

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