Edgewood man charged with setting fire outside liquor store, obstructing firefighters

An Edgewood man was arrested last week for allegedly setting a fire outside a business and then allegedly keeping firefighters from getting to it, according to charging documents.

John D. Groth, 58, of the 500 block of Freys Road, is accused of setting fire to a pile of trash in the parking lot of BBX Liquors, in the 2000 block of Pulaski Highway, at about 8:35 p.m. on May 20, according to charging documents.

When a Harford County Sheriff's Office deputy arrived, Groth was allegedly slurring his speech and verbally abusing firefighters and people standing in the area watching the fire, according to charging documents.

The owner of BBX saw the fire being set; customers had alerted him to the suspect being disorderly outside, according to the charging documents.

A firefighter said the suspect stepped in the area of the fire and refused to step back when asked, according to documents. He also had a lighter on his belt.

Groth has 20 arrests in Maryland, including 17 convictions, as well as nine convictions in Florida, a state's attorney told visiting District Court Judge Dana Levitz during a bail review Thursday in Harford County District Court.

Groth is charged with second-degree malicious burning, obstructing firefighters and disorderly conduct in connection with the May 20 incident, according to court records.

Levitz set his bail at $25,000. Groth, who was seen via TV from the Harford County Detention Center, shouted an expletive at the courtroom as he left.

Groth remained incarcerated at the Harford County Detention Center Tuesday.

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