Silver Spring man faces arson charges following series of fires

A Maryland man who investigators said set a series of fires in Montgomery County, including at two gas stations, has been arrested on arson charges.

Mauro Anderson Rodrigues, 44, of Silver Spring was arrested Tuesday by Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service investigators.

The fires were set between Monday and Tuesday at several Silver Spring locations and set ablaze two ATMs, a car and gas stations.

On Monday at University Boulevard West, investigators said the damage to the two ATMs that were set on fire exceeded $20,000. Rodrigues faces second-degree arson charges for that fire.

On the same day, investigators said that he tried to set a dispensing fuel nozzle on fire at a gas station on the 9500 block of Georgia Avenue. Attendants chased him off. In that case, he faces charges of second-degree arson and second-degree malicious burning.

Between Monday and Tuesday, Rodrigues is accused of setting a Mercedes-Benz on fire on the 10000 block of Tenbrook Drive.

Most recently, Rodrigues is accused of igniting a fire while pouring gasoline from a pump onto the ground at a gas station on Colesville Road. This fire damaged a car, two fuel station pumps and the store, resulting in more than $100,000 in damages.

All the pieces connecting the fires to Rodrigues came together after this “pretty dramatic fire,” Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service spokesman Pete Piringer said. This happened during the morning rush hour and was very visible to everybody.

“There were people at the gas station in fact, there was someone pumping gas. The fire destroyed two fuel pumps nearby vehicle that belonged to an unrelated person who was fueling his car at the time,” Piringer said.

Gas station attendants shut off the gas pump, preventing further damage; and despite some significant damage, no one was harmed.

Piringer said investigators began to think about how Tuesday’s gas station fire might be related to the other fires that happened the day before in the area. Anonymous information from the community also linked Rodrigues to the fires. Investigators applied and were granted felony warrants for Rodrigues.

Rodrigues — who was arrested and released Monday in D.C. for assaulting a police officer, leaving the scene of a collision, DUI and reckless driving among others — was briefly hospitalized before he was arrested and charged Tuesday by Montgomery County fire investigators. He is in custody awaiting a bond hearing.

WTOP’s Juan Herrera contributed to this report.

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

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