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Police: Man started fire at woman's home

Sean Philip Cotter

Police say a man poured lighter fluid around the York City home of the woman he'd been living with and started a small fire, telling her: "If I can't have you, no one can."

Aaron Devon Howard, 36, of no fixed address, is charged with first-degree felony counts of arson of an inhabited building and risking catastrophe, as well as lesser counts of reckless endangerment and drug offenses, according to the criminal complaint filed by York City Police against him on Sept. 18.

He was formally arraigned this Friday in the York County Court of Common Pleas.

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Police say Howard first showed up at a woman's apartment in the 100 block of Hartley Street around 10:30 p.m. Sept. 17, kicked in the door and threw the woman to the ground before being pushed away by someone else in the building.

He left, but then came back an hour later with lighter fluid, documents state. Police say he poured it on the siding on the front of the house, the front porch and the door.

He lit a paper sign on the door on fire, but the woman was able to quickly put it out, according to documents.

That's when he told her: "If I can't have you, no one can," police say; documents allege he then threw lighter fluid on her and left.

Police tracked him down a few hours later in the 700 block of West Philadelphia Street, documents state. They found him with a lighter, five bags of marijuana, a grinder and pipe with pot residue in them, a partially smoked blunt and a scale, police say.

He told officers the victim had kicked him out of the house, and when he came back, he found another man there, documents state. So he bought the lighter fluid and poured it around the building to scare her, police say he told them.

He remains in York County Prison in lieu of $150,000 bail, according to online court records; he has been there since Sept. 18, when he was arraigned at the district judge level.

— Reach Sean Cotter atscotter@yorkdispatch.com.