Arson suspect arrested, charged in Harford County

Behind a church on the edge of nowhere, tucked in the woods just off Pulaski Highway in Edgewood, homeless men, like Raul Espinoza, make their homes out of discarded materials.
 
"We come over here to eat.  That's why we come over here... to go to the church and eat,” said Espinoza’s friend, John Martinez, “So, a couple of the men, we go over there and eat again and hang out pretty much over here with him, because he's homeless.  We're here with him and hang out with him, because he don't have nothing."
 
Which makes it seem all the more unlikely that someone would intentionally set fire to one of these makeshift homes. But investigators with the State Fire Marshal's office say that's what happened last week, and 20-year old Luis Colon, Jr. is now behind bars facing a series of charges.
 
"I believe it was just an open faced device or what we consider just a cigarette lighter," said Deputy State Fire Marshal Oliver Alkire.
 
Espinoza says he spotted Colon near the burning structure who then produced a weapon and tried to rob him at gunpoint.
 
"Give me your money," recalled Espinoza, "No money.  Ain't no money."
 
Coming up empty, Colon ran off and remained at large for a week.
 
"They were looking for him when they called the cop and all that.  They were looking for him and they got him yesterday.  He got arrested yesterday," said Martinez.
 
Fortunately, the man who lived inside the makeshift shack was not inside when it was torched and Espinoza survived the armed robbery attempt without injury, but it's a case, which carries a level of heartlessness rarely seen by investigators.
 
"They have very little to begin with,” said Alkire, “You know they're back here on the property trying just to stay out of people's way and they just become victimized again by this gentleman who comes back there and sets fire to what little they have left."
 
Colon is being held tonight at the Harford County Detention Center.
 
In addition to arson, he faces malicious burning, assault and dangerous weapon charges.
 
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