Woman Sentenced To Seven Months For Jail Cell Arson

SNOW HILL — A Bishopville woman, charged with arson in November after setting a fire in her holding cell in Ocean City by concealing a lighter, pleaded guilty last week and was sentenced to seven months in jail.

Around 9 p.m. last Nov. 12, an Ocean City police officer on patrol was approached by a cab driver who informed the officer he just had a female passenger jump from his vehicle in the area of 64th Street. The officer responded to the area and found the woman, later identified as Lisa Kerstetter, 53, of Bishopville, allegedly crawling in the parking lot of the 64th Street Village shopping center. The officer asked Kerstetter how he could help her and when asked if she wanted EMS to respond, she said no, according to police reports.

Kerstetter became agitated and called the OCPD officers expletives. She told one of the officers she was going to smack him and walked toward the officer, but lost her balance and then picked up a soft drink bottle and struck the front glass door of a nail salon. At that point, Kerstetter was taken to the Public Safety Building for processing and put in a holding cell.

Shortly before midnight, officers smelled something burning. The officers observed the phone system and a portion of the wall in her cell were burnt. Portions of the phone system were melted and discolored and there were burn marks up the wall to the ceiling, according to police reports.

An officer at the jail informed supervisors while he was monitoring the intercom system, he received a call from Kerstetter informing the officer that he better let her go. The officer said while Kerstetter was using the intercom system, he heard an odd crackling sound in the background to suggest something was on fire.

When an officer went to the cell, Kerstetter was observed attempting to conceal a lighter in her clothing. Kerstetter’s underwear was draped over the phone system still smoking and burning. The cell and the hallway were full of smoke. The damage to the phone and intercom system was estimated to be over $1,000.

OCPD spokesperson Lindsay Richard said at the time that Kerstetter was able to conceal the lighter during the booking process.

“A thorough search was done during the booking process in compliance with our protocol, however, Kerstetter had a lighter hidden in a location where our detention personnel would not typically search, which is how she managed to set the small fire,” she said.

Kerstetter was also placed on probation for two years upon her release and was fined $300.