Man charged with setting fires during eviction

Smoke rises from a house in the 11500 block of Prospect Place in Glen Dale, Md., Thursday morning. David C. Coley was charged with setting the fire inside his home. (Prince George\'s County Fire Department)

WASHINGTON – A man who claimed to be a “sovereign citizen” when officers tried to evict him Thursday, has been charged with setting multiple fires inside his Glenn Dale home.

Prince George’s County sheriff’s deputies went to the home in the 11500 block of Prospect Place to serve an eviction in the morning. But resident David C. Coley, 53, refused to come out and at least one shot was fired. Meanwhile the house was on fire, according to the fire department.

ABC7 had reported that Coley declared he was a “sovereign citizen” while he was still inside the house.

Coley left the house before fire crews arrived and quickly extinguished the fire on the second floor.

Investigators say an accelerant was used to start the fire, which caused an estimated $80,000 in damage.

Coley is charged with first- and second-degree arson plus first- and second-degree malicious burning. He could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

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