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Five Charged in Topsham, Ryegate House Fires

Five young Caledonia County men have been charged with setting fire to homes in Topsham, Vt. and Ryegate, Vt. earlier this month, Vermont State Police said yesterday.

The men, who range in age from 17 to 20, allegedly drove to an unoccupied home on McDonald Road in Topsham, Vt., on the night of May 14 and set it on fire, police said. They left, and drove around in search of another home to burn.

Three of the men involved in the McDonald Road fire, Matthew Whalen, 18, of Groton, Vt., Jared Grant, 17, of Groton, Vt., and Dalton Harrington, 20, of Groton, Vt., then drove to an unoccupied sugar shack on Hall Road in Ryegate, Vt. and set it on fire.

The other men charged in connection with the Topsham, Vt., fire are Nicholas Gordan, 17, Groton, Vt., and Cody Ricker, 18, of East Ryegate, Vt., police said.

Grant was charged with aiding in the commission of a felony: The rest were charged with first-degree arson, police said.

They are scheduled to appear in court in July to answer to the charges, police said.