*****ORIGINAL INFORMATION 23 MAY 2018 *****
On Wednesday 23 May 2018 at approximately 0343 hrs. Lancaster Bureau of Fire and Bureau of Police responded to a report of a vehicle fire to the rear of the Duke St. Parking Garage 150 N. Duke St. Lancaster, PA. When the first Officer arrived on scene it was found that there were (2) fires burning. A vehicle registered to the City of Lancaster and the front doors to City Hall/ Municipal Building at 120 N. Duke St. were both burning. The Bureau of Fire was able to extinguish both fires.
The PA State Police Fire Marshall assisted the Bureaus of Fire and Police in the investigation. The initial indictations are that the fires had been intentionally set and are being investigated as arsons.
***** NEW INFORMATION 12 JUNE 2018 *****
From the moment this case started, Detectives and Officers from the Lancaster Bureau of Police spent countless hours conducting follow up investigations. This included conducting interviews, searching for physical evidence, eyewitnesses as well as locating surveillance cameras and reviewing hours of downloaded videos.
The following information is a slightly condensed version of the affidavit of probable cause attached to a criminal complaint filed against Dwain London Jr. :
On 23 May 2018 at 0343 hours Officers from the Lancaster City Bureau of Police and Lancaster City Bureau of Fire were dispatched to City Hall, 120 North Duke St, Lancaster, Pennsylvania for a fire.
Upon arrival, Officers Jason Windlebleck and William Hamby, both with the Lancaster Bureau of Police, reported that the front entrance of City Hall at 120 N. Duke St. and a Lancaster City owned vehicle parked on East Marion St just off of N Duke St were on fire. The officers described seeing significant fire damage to the large wooden main doors on the east side of the building. That the Lancaster City Bureau of Police began an arson investigation. The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) fire marshal assessed the scenes and confirmed the fires were incendiary in nature and caused/started by human hands. Detective Jessica Higgins responded to initiate the investigation.
Detectives with the Lancaster City Bureau of Police obtained and viewed surveillance camera footage from multiple camera sources, including the Lancaster Safety Coalition (LSC), and privately owned and operated cameras of various businesses and residences throughout Lancaster City and surrounding areas looking for any video evidence of the crime during, before, and after the arson.
Surveillance footage from the interior of City Hall shows a flash, consistent with the start of the fire at approximately 0336 hrs.
Detective Higgins and other Detectives viewed surveillance footage from LSC and Red Rose Transit Authority- RRTA. The RRTA camera faces south on Queen St. on Queen St and Chestnut St. According to the time stamp on the video, 03:29:46 23 May 2018, a dark sport utility vehicle (SUV) with a chrome front grill, stopped in the east lane facing north on Queen St. at Chestnut St. The video shows a subject appearing just to the east of the SUV and walking east on the south sidewalk toward N. Duke St.
Detective Higgins and other Detectives were able to track the movements of the subject before and after the arson through the use of various surveillance cameras. The suspect was described as follows: Average to short in height light skinned male, wearing a black jacket with a light colored shirt hanging below the jacket, a light colored hood pulled over his head, darker washed pants or jeans, and black shoes. Prior to the start of the fires the subject can be seen on surveillance footage carrying a small red container, consistent with a gas can. This suspect's movements are tracked prior to and after the start of the fires using various LSC and private surveillance cameras. That person has yet to be identified.
On 25 May 2018 at 2250 hrs. Det. Sgt. Miller and Det. Dommel drove to the 900 blk. of N Lime St and located Dwain London's vehicle. From previous information and interactions investigators knew London's vehicle to be a black Ford Explorer (PA) KGK0152 (VIN- IFMAK8D88CGA1473), A resulting check of ownership of the vehicle found the listed owners to be Dwain Stewart London and Searina London. Det Sgt Miller and Det Dommel observed a small red gas can in the rear compartment of London's vehicle. London's vehicle was parked legally on the street and in plain view. As a result of this a search warrant was obtained for the vehicle. It should be noted that this gas container appeared consistent in size, shape and color to the container held by the subject above prior to the start of the fires.
Det. Higgins viewed surveillance footage obtained from the Turkey Hill Gas Station, 806 New Holland Ave, Lancaster PA 17602. At 0145 hrs 06/23/18 London's black Ford Explorer is observed pulling into the gas station pumps, to what is designated as pump #3. A subject can be seen walking from the driver's side of the vehicle, and enters the store at 0146 hrs. This subject was Dwain London- DOB:9/19/88. After checking with store management Det. Higgins found that London purchased $20.00 of gasoline as well as a snack product using a credit card. Store records listed the owner of the card used for the purchase of the gasoline and snacks to be Dwain Stewart London.
The surveillance footage reveals after purchasing the gasoline, Dwain London returned to his vehicle, opened the rear hatch of the vehicle and a small red item, consistent with the gas container is removed from the vehicle and carried closer to the pump.
In viewing the surveillance footage from the Turkey Hill- 806 New Holland Ave Det. Higgins also observed another male exit London's vehicle and enter the store. This unknown male is described as follows: Average to short in height light skinned male, wearing and black jacket with a light colored shirt hanging below the jacket, darker washed pants or jeans, and black shoes. The appearance of this male is consistent with the male that is described above observed carrying the gas can at the time of the arson on N. Duke St. Furthermore, the gait of the male entering the Turkey Hill store also appeared consistent with the subject observed on surveillance footage before and after the arson. London and the other subject are observed leaving the Turkey Hill at 0155 hrs, leaving by way of the west entrance/ exit, back in the direction of Lancaster City. The investigation continues as to the identity of the other subject.
Records for Dwain London's cellular telephone were obtained and are consistent with the movement of London's vehicle observed prior to and after the start of the fires.
After leaving Turkey Hill, 806 New Holland Ave, London is constantly tracked using the above methods prior to, during and after the arson. Specifically London's vehicle is observed in the area of E Orange St at N Marshall St at 0322 hrs, E Orange St at N Duke St at 0325 hrs, E Orange St at N Queen St at 0328 hrs, and as previously mentioned at N Queen at E Chestnut St, where the arsonist exits the vehicle, at 0329 hrs.
In a prior interview with Investigators, London advised investigators that he was home at the time of the fires.
The doors burned in the fire were manufactured by hand in the 19th century and are regarded as an irreplaceable piece of Lancaster history and Lancaster City Government. The value of the damage to the doors and stone front of the building is estimated at $70,0000.
As a result of the fire at the Lancaster City Hall building all City Hall staff members, those employed by the City of Lancaster and their families have a continued great concern for their safety. The functions and operations of the City of Lancaster were greatly affected over the days and weeks after the arson and continue to be affected. This included an increased police presence at City Hall to quell the safety concerns for the building that is the center of Lancaster City government institution and the people it serves.
As you can read in the above information, this investigation has been lengthy and time consuming and is on-going. The identity of the co-conspirator that acted with London has not been identified and investigators are still pursuing that part of the investigation.
As a result of the information that is listed above and after consultation with Lancaster County District Attorney's Office, Det. Jessica Higgins filed a Criminal Complaint against Dwain London before MDJ Jimenez. London was charged with (1) Count Terrorism (F1), (3) Counts Arson (F2 &F3), Institutional Vandalism (F3) and Criminal Conspiracy (Terrorism/Arson/Institutional Vandalism). A warrant was obtained for the arrest of Dwain London.
London was taken into custody at the Lancaster Bureau of Police station in the early evening hours on 11 June 2018. He was served with the warrant and processed for the arrest. He was held for arraignment. Arraignment information was not available as of the time of this press release (0800 hrs. 12 June 2018)
All persons accused of a crime are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in court.
Anyone with information on this case or the name of the yet unidentified co-conspirator is asked to contact Det. Jessica Higgins at 717-735-3319 firstname.lastname@example.org or Lancaster Crime Stoppers at (800) 322-1913, or you can anonymously Text a Tip to Crime Stoppers by using your cell phone. Text LANCS plus your message to 847411. Callers may remain anonymous and do not have to give their names.