Man charged for setting fire behind Westminster shopping center

The Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office said Friday it had arrested a man and charged him with arson  after he allegedly started a fire outside Cranberry Square Shopping Center in Westminster.

According to a release, Edwin Lawrence Kaiss Jr., 49, was taken into custody without incident after deputies identified him as a suspect in a small fire that was set at about 3:20 p.m. behind the shopping center located at 405 N. Center St., off Route 140, in Westminster.

According to the fire marshal's office, investigators believe a man removed combustibles from a trash receptacle and set fire to them near the building. The small fire then started to spread up the exterior of the building wall.

Damage to the building was minimal and the fire did not extend inside, the report said.

The Westminster Volunteer Fire Department responded and extinguished the fire. Operations in the center were unaffected from the fire, the report said.

Witnesses provided a description of the man, and a search of the area located the suspect, later identified as Kaiss, at a nearby restaurant.

Kaiss was charged with first-degree arson, attempted first-degree arson, malicious burning second
degree, and malicious destruction of property. He was transported to the Carroll County Detention Center
where he was awaiting a bond review hearing as of Friday evening.

Westminster City Police also assisted in the investigation.


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