Mark Starkovich pleads guilty to starting apartment fire while lighting marijuana pipe

Categories: Crime, Drugs, Duluth
mark Starkovich rect.jpg
Starkovich's preferred smoking spot was the basement of a condemned and abandoned building. Doesn't sound like a very fun place to light up to us.
Who says that smoking marijuana doesn't lead to crime?

SEE ALSO: Royce White says his problems began when he smoked pot in Forest Lake

Duluth resident Mark Starkovich, 56, pleaded guilty to a gross misdemeanor in connection with an April 7 fire that caused $2,500 in damage to a previously fire-damaged and abandoned apartment building in downtown Duluth. Starkovich somehow started the fire while trying to light his marijuana pipe. Take it from me -- it's not that hard, dude.

Duluth's WDIO TV details the circumstances of the fire:
Flames were described as coming from the basement area. Witnesses reported seeing a man in the area just before the fire, which was confirmed by surveillance camera images, according to a police press release.

A criminal complaint says the Kozy's building manager reviewed the surveillance tape, and positively identified the man in it as Starkovich, the apartment building's former lead maintenance worker.

Earlier this month, police told Eyewitness News Starkovich admitted to breaking into the building, but said the fire started accidentally. The criminal complaint says Starkovich "repeatedly denied intentionally damaging the building, but confessed to starting papers on fire in order to smoke the marijuana that was in his marijuana pipe."
Lighting papers on fire, then trying to light your pipe, eh? Next time, we suggest simplifying things by forgetting the papers altogether and just going straight for the bowl. Even better -- do what it takes to get your hands on a lighter. They last a long time and have the added benefit of making it difficult to unintentionally start blazes and thereby get yourself in trouble.

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