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Man faces arson charge after Goodwill store fire in Fairfax

Goodwill store in Fairfax (photo by David Taube)

A man is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in court on May 25 after allegedly setting the Fairfax City Goodwill store ablaze.

The 20-year-old Fairfax resident is charged with arson of an occupied building following a Jan. 17 fire at the used clothing and goods retailer, located at 9960 Main Street.

While the nonprofit’s insurance covered the damagees, which exceeded $18,500, the blaze required the store’s donation center to close for a day, resulting in lost revenue and much-needed donations, according to spokesman Brendan Hurley of Goodwill of Greater Washington.

“People are holding onto their goods longer, which means they’re donating less,” he told FFXnow.

At the same time, more people are shopping at Goodwill stores in the region, with sales up about 13.5% between the first quarter of 2021 and first quarter of 2022, which represents about 51,000 transactions, according to the nonprofit.

Hurley said in an email that the donations help the organization’s mission of also providing free job training, education, and employment services.

The defendant in the arson case was being held at the Caroline Detention Facility in Caroline County, as of March 7, in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He lives in Fairfax and worked at a pizzeria, according to court documents.

In January, the man allegedly stood in front of the parking area of the store and watched the fire grow for several minutes before leaving the area.

“The suspect in the video was wearing a full zip jacket with a half face ski mask and was periodically smoking a cigarette,” Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Andrew Bolton wrote in a March 22 court filing.

While fire investigators were on scene, the man allegedly returned and identified himself by name when questioned.

Police used surveillance video from cameras at the store in their investigation and arrested him Jan. 22, according to court documents.

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