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Jan 20, 2019

Jonathan Riffe Holds Book Signing at Dunkirk Firehouse
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By Firefighter/Medic Ginger Manifold
January 31, 2018

Jonathan Rife’s book is on the notorious Thomas Sweatt, a serial arsonist, who terrorized houses, businesses and vehicles between 1980 and 2005. Sweatt was arrested in 2005 and admitted to more than 340 fires that he had set. He was probably involved with more than a thousand vehicle fires. And those fires killed 4 people. Jonathan Riffe’s book is titled “Inside the Mind of DC’s Most Notorious Arsonist”. Investigators named him the “most prolific and dangerous serial arsonist in American history”.

In 2005 Thomas Sweatt pled guilty and received a sentence of life without parole in federal prison. Authors, movie producers, and television producers tried in vain to contact Sweatt in prison but were unsuccessful. Jonathan Riffe, who lived in Calvert County and was a DC firefighter, wrote to Sweatt in 2011 and Riffe received a phone call from federal prison. And so Jonathan Riffe communicated with Thomas Sweatt for approximately 3 years to gain insight into the arsonist’s mind.

Jonathan Riffe took time putting together the book, starting with Sweatt’s life growing up in North Carolina. The book will be a fascinating read for firefighters, lawyers, judges and psychiatrists. To obtain a copy, go to

Food was provided for the well attended event by Caney Creek Catering:

Margit Miller / Calvert Beacon

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