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Police arrest woman in Mount Vernon car fires

Multiple cars were set on fire overnight in Mount Vernon, Baltimore fire officials said Friday.

Baltimore police arrested a woman late Friday night and charged her with setting a series of car fires early that morning in Mount Vernon.

Lakia Letterlough, 25, was arrested “without incident” about 11:30 p.m. Friday in the 1700 block of N. Charles St., police said.

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Letterlough was charged with eight counts of first-degree malicious burning, according to Detective Niki Fennoy, a police spokeswoman.

When officers found Letterlough, she was carrying a container with an accelerant in it, Fennoy said. Patrol officers and officers with the Homeless Outreach Team had tracked her down, she said.

Police don’t know yet what the motive was for setting the fires, Fennoy said.

Officers had released photos of a female suspect in the car fires, including from surveillance cameras at the Belvedere building and from an employee at the Owl Bar in the building.

A bar manager told The Baltimore Sun that employees found a woman in a bathroom with a bag containing two canisters of gasoline. The employees confiscated the bag and escorted the woman out shortly after 1 a.m. Friday.

At least five cars were set on fire and two more caught fire within a 10-block radius, Baltimore City Fire Department spokeswoman Blair Skinner said. The vehicles were set aflame between 3 and 4 a.m. Friday.

Online court records show that Letterlough has been arrested three times since November in Baltimore and Anne Arundel County. She was charged with second-degree assault, theft and attempted theft on Dec. 10 in Baltimore and released on her own recognizance. That charge is pending.

On Nov. 20, Anne Arundel County police charged her with being a “rogue and vagabond” and committing theft of less than $100, a charge that also is pending. Before that, on Nov. 16, she was charged in the city with motor vehicle theft, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, and theft; that case was dropped Dec. 17.

Police that the the fires were set at random, interim police Commissioner Gary Tuggle said Friday, adding that the department was working with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to investigate the arson.

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