Alledged serial arsonist Lamont Riddenhour was arraigned for allegedly burning down a house on South Tenth Avenue in Mount Vernon, the afternoon of Easter Sunday.
K. Robert Odindo, chief of operations for the city’s fire department, told The Journal News/lohud in an earlier report that he believes the home was abandoned and that there may have been squatters at the structure.
The 43-year-old Mount Vernon resident was charged with second degree arson, a class B felony.
The fire also damaged a neighboring house, where volunteers were helping eight adults from three families who were displaced, Red Cross spokeswoman Carolyn Sherwin said, Lohud reported.
Judge Thomas Quinones in Westchester County Court set bail for Riddenhour at $100,000 cash or $300,000 bond and $500,000 partially secured surety bond at 10%, the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
“For Riddenhour we had the help of Deputy Commissioner for the Dept. of Mental Health and their CPRT Team leader Nieves,” MVPD Commissioner Glenn Scott shared with Black Westchester. “As the DA’s office was useless releasing Riddenhour over and over again. On his last arrest we sent him directly to Mental Health and had him held until we could build a felony arson case and that is how we ended this one man crime spree.”
Many residents were concerned Riddenhour was still on the street after being arrested several times for starting fires in Mount Vernon and Yonkers, including BW Publisher Damon K. Jones, who expressed it live on Facebook.
Despite the many arrest he was released each time and allegedly started more fires. District Attorney Anthony Scarpino’s office claimed there was not enough evidence to prosecute him.
While some residents blamed the MVPD for not doing enough, they did their job and kept arresting Riddenhour. Commissioner Scott had to go who around DA Scarpino to get Riddenhour off the streets.
“I had to think out of the box as the DA’s office wasn’t even arraigning him and telling us to give a Desk Appearance Ticket for 45 days in the future. So I enlisted Mental Health,” Commissioner Scott continued. “Resources to be able to hold him until we could complete the last arson investigation. Shout out to my Detectives.”
When I went live on Facebook to announce the arraignment several residents express a sigh of relief. Congressional candidate Sammy Ravelo – who is running to unseat Congressman Eliot Engel in the upcoming Democratic Primary – complimented the MVPD.
“Shoutout to the MVPD, Ravelo shared with Black Westchester. “Law Enforcement is not easy. Sometime it’s you dam if you and you dam if you don’t. Obviously I support our men and women in blue that do the right thing by the citizens.”
Residents in Mount Vernon and Yonkers can sleep a lot easier tonight. This was possible because of all those who spoke up.
“This is what happens when the community steps up to assist. If you see something, say something.Thank you to our Mount Vernon Police Department, NY and FDMV for the quick investigative work. #CMVNY,” Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard shared on Facebook.
Riddenhour is due back in court date on June 4, 2020. Stay tuned to Black Westchester for more on this developing story.