A New York City man and woman were arrested Wednesday after they reportedly attempted to burn down a Richmond home to collect a drug debt.

Todd Dickson

Todd Dickson, 26, and Joris Gomez, 25, were each charged with two counts of arson by state fire marshals, along with burglary and theft in the incident on Pitts Center Road. According to Steve McCausland, state Department of Public Safety spokesman, the pair were also charged by state drug enforcement agents with aggravated trafficking in heroin.

Joris Gomez

McCausland said Dickson and Gomez took a bus from New York to Portland with the intent of “collecting drug money debt.” While taking a taxi from Portland to Richmond, the duo purchased a can of gasoline at a convenience store. Once they arrived at 3 Pitts Center Road, McCausland said, they spread it on a car and throughout a house there. The car was destroyed and the house sustained minor damage.

A women and her teenage daughter were in the house but were not injured.

Richmond Fire Chief John Bellino said the call came in around 9 p.m. and five local firefighters responded. He said the car fire “was extinguished before it could come into contact” with the home, but the vehicle was destroyed.

Gomez and Dickson left in the same taxi and were stopped along Interstate 295 in Topsham, where they were subsequently arrested and taken to Two Bridges Jail in Wiscasset.

McCausland said the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office and Topsham, Brunswick and Richmond police assisted with Wednesday’s arrest.

Loretta S. Perkins

A day before the fire, on Tuesday, Loretta S. Perkins — who was living at the Pitts Center Road home damaged Wednesday — was arrested in Wiscasset on a charge of trafficking in heroin. According to information from McCausland, drug agents seized crack cocaine, heroin, fentanyl and methamphetamine during the arrest, along with $1,000 in cash and ledger books. Through this arrest, the agents learned Dickson and Gomez had supplied drugs to Perkins, McCausland said. Perkins was also taken to Two Bridges Jail.

McCausland said Wiscasset police assisted in Tuesday’s arrest.


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