Police: York man torched doors of Lancaster City Hall

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

A York City man is locked up on $2 million bail, accused of torching the front doors of Lancaster City Hall.

Patrick Joseph Baker, 18, of the 200 block of East Philadelphia Street, is charged with terrorism, conspiracy to commit terrorism, institutional vandalism, reckless burning and two counts of arson. All the offenses are felonies, according to court records. He remains in Lancaster County Prison.

Patrick Joseph Baker

Lancaster City Police said Baker and Dwain London Jr., 29, of Lancaster, also torched a city-owned vehicle parked nearby, according to charging documents.

Firefighters and police were called to Lancaster City Hall, 120 N. Duke St., about 3:45 a.m. May 23, where they found the front doors in flames, police said.

The oversize, handmade wooden doors were an irreplaceable part of Lancaster history and could not be salvaged, according to Lancaster City Police.

The damage to them, as well as to the stone front of City Hall, was estimated at $70,000, police said.

An arson investigator determined both fires were intentionally set, charging documents state.

Using surveillance footage from a number of cameras in downtown Lancaster, police identified a dark-colored SUV with a chrome grille that they tracked to London, police allege.

Alleged confrontation: London had attended a Lancaster City Council meeting the night before, on May 22, where he became confrontational with council members about several rental properties owned and managed by London and his father, according to charging documents.

Police then found video footage of London buying gas at a local convenience store, and in that video Baker can be seen getting out of the SUV, police said.

Police compared the store footage of Baker to surveillance footage of a man carrying a gas can in the area of City Hall and determined it was the same man, documents allege.

The handmade doors of Lancaster City Hall were torched on May 23, 2018. They were made in the 1800s, police said.

Investigators, armed with a search warrant, found what appears to be the same gas can in the back of London's SUV on May 25, documents state.

They also seized records for London's cellphone, which showed he was in the area of City Hall before and after the fires were set, police allege.

During a police interview, Baker confessed that he agreed to set the fires with London, and that London paid him $40 for it, charging documents allege.

Lancaster City employees and their families had "great concern" for their safety and still do, according to police.

"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," charging documents state.

Dwain London Jr.

It is unclear if Baker has retained an attorney.

London also remains in Lancaster County Prison on $2 million bail, charged with counts of terrorism, arson, conspiracy and institutional vandalism.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.