HARFORD COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — A Wilmington man will spend the next 10 years behind bars for a series of arsons committed in Baltimore and Harford County that cost an estimated $1 million in damages.

Richard Lodeski, 44, pleaded guilty on May 26. He was sentenced to 60 years with all but 10 years suspended for three counts of second-degree arson.

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He was initially charged on June 23, 2020, with 2 counts of second-degree arson, 2 counts of first-degree malicious burning, 2 counts of second-degree malicious burning, and 2 counts of malicious destruction of property over $1,000.

He was later charged with additional counts of second-degree arson, first-degree malicious burning, and malicious destruction of property over $1,000.

During the investigation, investigators learned that the first arson was committed on June 15, 2020, around 11:30 p.m. at a Shell gas station 1900 block of Emmorton Road in Bel Air.

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The second arson happened on June 20, 2020, shortly before 3:30 a.m. Fire officials responded to 1226 Bel Air Road for a reported building fire. Once on the scene, crews found 2 structures on fire that housed 8 different businesses.

In collaboration with BATF agents, Deputy State Fire Marshals were able to determine that the fires were incendiary (arson) in nature.

Lodeski was also connected to other crimes, including arson in Baltimore County and burglary in Ocean City. Investigators are still working with Delaware law enforcement in connecting him to other arsons in the Dewey Beach area.

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“Arson is a callous and senseless crime that endangers the lives of innocent residents and our firefighters who bravely respond to protect life and property,” stated State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci. “I commend my Deputy State Fire Marshals and our federal partners in fire investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and their outstanding efforts to investigate these incidents and apprehend the suspect.”

CBS Baltimore Staff