LAUREL, Md. (WJZ) — A former Laurel Police Department Chief was arrested Wednesday in connection with a series of arsons since 2011.

David M. Crawford, 69, of Ellicott City, is facing numerous arson and attempted murder charges, according to officials.

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Through the course of the investigation, it was determined that the structures and vehicles that Crawford intentionally set on fire were connected to victims with whom he had previous disagreements, officials said.

David Crawford. Credit: Prince George’s County Fire Department

The victims include a former City of Laurel official, three former law enforcement officials, two relatives, two of Crawford’s former physicians and a resident in his neighborhood.

Crawford is a former local law enforcement official who last served in 2010 when he resigned as Chief of the City of Laurel Police Department.

A search warrant of Crawford’s residence was executed in January 2021, during which time investigators located several critical items of evidence, including a target list of the known victims, linking him to the crimes, officials said.

Bill Snyder, of Ellicott City, lives across from one of the homes Crawford is suspected of setting on fire multiple times.

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“Yeah, it’s a little bizarre,” Snyder said. “Very bizarre, actually.”

Snyder said he remembered the incidents.

“The garage and most of the dining room and kitchen were destroyed from the first fire,” he said. “For him to do that, it just seems like it was really personal that it happened twice.”

Snyder said he also interacted with Crawford shortly after the blaze.

“Mr. Crawford came over and wanted to know as much as I knew about the house, and the history, and who lived there, and those kinds of things,” Snyder said. “But it’s just a little odd that he turned up… Somebody that we didn’t know and started asking about the house… which is different.”

In a statement, Mayor Craig Moe called the allegations “troubling and quite serious, and if proven true, members of our City of Laurel family have been victimized. And I want to say, that our thoughts and prayers are with them, and their families as this case proceeds.”

Crawford has been booked at the Howard County Detention Center.

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