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York man arrested after protesting homelessness by allegedly setting fire inside empty building

YORK — A 32-year-old York man claiming to be protesting the issue of homelessness was arrested after allegedly setting a fire in an abandoned building on the 300 block of South George Street Wednesday night, according to a criminal complaint filed by York police.

Davon Lee Singleton, of the 100 block of West Jackson Street, was charged with arson, criminal trespass and possession of drug paraphernalia in the incident, which occurred at 10:41 p.m.

Police responding to the report of a structure fire arrived on the scene to find fire personnel peering into the basement window, the criminal complaint says. When the officer looked through the window, he observed a man, later identified as Singleton, hunched over in the back corner of the room.

The officer also noted that a board that covered the back door had been ripped off, according to the criminal complaint.

The building was marked with a red box and a white X, meaning that it had been condemned by the city and no trespassing was allowed, the officer noted in the criminal complaint.

After the fire was extinguished, police interviewed Singleton. He told them he was a college student in Baltimore, working toward a degree in political science, the criminal complaint says. He told police he was protesting the issue of homelessness and decided to do it from the basement of the building, which he knew to be condemned, according to police.

When police searched Singleton, they found a small, plastic bag containing suspected cocaine. Singleton told police he used the drug before entering the building, the criminal complaint says.

A search of Singleton’s backpack uncovered three needles, one of which had a liquid substance inside, police say.