Sep. 25—A man accused of setting a series of fires in a Longmont store before being tackled by firefighters has taken a plea deal in his case.
Michael Edward Schrodt, 56, pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree arson on Sept. 7. The arson count was the most serious charge filed in his case, and prosecutors dismissed the remaining charges.
He originally pleaded not guilty in his case and was set for trial in October, but that trial date was canceled as a result of the plea deal.
Boulder County District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Shannon Carbone said the plea agreement did not contain any sentence stipulations and will be open to a judge.
But Carbone said prosecutors will take into account that Schrodt, who went through a lengthy competency restoration process during his case, already has been in custody for two years on the case. Carbone said Schrodt's acceptance in the Boulder County PACE program, an outpatient or work-release program for people on felony probation who struggle with mental illness and substance abuse, could also impact their sentencing recommendation.
"This guilty plea and resolution is the right one, in light of the facts and circumstances," Carbone wrote in an email. "Our office will have an additional statement after the sentence is imposed."
He is set for sentencing on Nov. 24.
According to Longmont police, firefighters responded to a fire alarm at Budget Home Supply, 780 Boston Ave., on Aug. 17, 2019, and found heavy smoke and requested more firefighters and equipment respond to the scene.
Firefighters entered the building and found several fires in different spots in the store. While extinguishing those fires, firefighters found Schrodt inside the store, still lighting fires, and tackled him after he ran from them, according to an arrest report.
Firefighters brought him outside to waiting police officers, who handcuffed him and took him to a hospital for a medical evaluation.
Investigators later determined Schrodt used a concrete ash tray to break into the building. The damage to the building was estimated at $500,000, according to the arrest report.