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Police Chief Scott D. Benton and Fire Chief Timothy J. Grenno report that a man was arrested Wednesday night after he allegedly set fire to a dumpster behind a Whitman convenience store.
SEAN R. MCCARTHY, AGE 34, OF GLENWOOD SPRINGS, COLORADO was charged with:
Burning Personal Property
Assault and Battery on a Police Officer
Malicious Destruction of Property Over $1,200
MCCARTHY also had an active warrant out for his arrest out of Salem District Court. He is expected to be arraigned Thursday at Brockton District Court.
On Jan. 30, at approximately 6:45 p.m., Whitman Police and Fire personnel responded to Regal Marketplace, 396 South Ave., for a report of a dumpster fire in the rear of the business.
Upon arrival, firefighters worked to quickly put out the flames and officers began to search the area for any signs of foul play.
After the fire was extinguished, officers noticed a strong odor of gasoline emanating from the dumpster. On the ground nearby there was fresh gasoline that had been spilled and multiple wooden pallets that were wet with gasoline. Also found on the ground was a nozzle to a plastic gas can.
Officers met with the owner of the business and reviewed surveillance footage of the incident. The video footage showed a man, later identified as MCCARTHY, wearing a brown jacket with a distinctive shield emblem on the back.
The video showed MCCARTHY walking up to the front door of the business and then walking around the side of the building toward the back.
MCCARTHY can be seen carrying a red plastic gas can and allegedly pouring gasoline onto a wooden pallet before carrying the pallet toward the dumpster where he goes out of sight of the camera. Immediately after, the dumpster is lit on fire.
A K-9 officer from the Plymouth County Sheriff's Department responded to the scene to try and track MCCARTHY'S whereabouts.
As officers were outside of the store investigating, MCCARTHY walked toward the store in the same jacket he was seen wearing in the surveillance video. He smelled strongly of gasoline and when he was approached by officers, he immediately became defensive and was yelling profanities at the officers.
Because of his agitation toward the officers, MCCARTHY was briefly detained and once it was determined that he was the man in the video, he was placed under arrest. During the booking process at the Whitman Police station, MCCARTHY was allegedly uncooperative and combative toward officers.
The decision was made to transport MCCARTHY to a local hospital for evaluation and while inside the ambulance he continued to be aggressive and allegedly kicked and
spat at an officer. The officer was uninjured.
"I would like to commend our officers for their great police work on this case in quickly identifying the suspect and placing him under arrest," Chief Benton said. "This was a great example of the strong partnership we have with the fire department and I am thankful for their efforts in getting the fire under control to allow our officers to begin their investigation."
Chief Grenno said, "Thankfully no one was hurt and the fire was contained to the dumpster. The dumpster was fully engulfed upon arrival and our firefighters were able to get it extinguished in a matter of minutes. Great job by our guys and the police officers who solved this case in such quick fashion."
These are allegations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty.