2022 | Police & Fire

Woman charged with setting three fires in Bethesda, Chevy Chase

She allegedly admitted to the crimes in emails to family, authorities say

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A woman arrested this week is accused of setting three small fires over the course of six months in Bethesda and Chevy Chase, according to Montgomery County police.

Police arrested Anastasia Colucci, 30, on Wednesday and charged her with first- and second-degree arson and reckless endangerment after she allegedly admitted to a relative via emails that she had set the fires — at a home, vacant business and a shed — between June and December 2021. Online court records list Colucci as a Washington, D.C., resident, but charging documents say she does not have a permanent address.

At about 2:30 a.m. on June 25, 2021, Colucci allegedly started a fire at a home on Leland Street in Chevy Chase, according to charging documents. The fire was contained to the right exterior corner of the home, near a covered porch area.

At about 9:25 p.m. the same day, she is accused of starting a fire at the rear of a vacant business, formerly home to the bar Villain and Saints, on Wisconsin Avenue in Chevy Chase, about a 5-minute walk from the Leland Street home. The fire was contained to a utility closet attached to the back of a building, charging documents say. A police dog “indicated a positive alert to the presence of an ignitable liquid on the door and wall to the closet,” charging documents say.

On Dec. 28, Colucci allegedly started a fire in brush near a fence at the rear of a home on Chestnut Street in Bethesda.

On Jan. 6, a relative of Colucci called the county’s arson tip line and said Colucci admitted to starting the fires. The relative said Colucci recently sent emails describing using lighter fluid to start two of the fires. Colucci allegedly said she started the brush fire because “another homeless companion of hers told her to do it.”

In the emails, Colucci allegedly “talks about the voices in her head,” court documents say.

She was charged with one count of first-degree arson for the Leland Street fire and two counts of second-degree arson for the other two fires. She was also charged with three counts of reckless endangerment because three people were home at the time of the Leland Street fire, charging documents say.

Attorney information for Colucci was not available in online court records on Friday.

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com