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DNA evidence led to the arrest Wednesday of a Washington man in connection with more than 40 fires that have kept many in the capital area on edge the past two years, authorities said.

Thomas Sweatt, 50, a fast food store manager, faces multiple charges in connection with arsons in the district, suburban Maryland and northern Virginia.

A break in the investigation came last week after DNA samples extracted from a pair of Marine Corps dress-blue slacks were analyzed, authorities said.

"Those pants had DNA that matched DNA we found at other fires," said Theresa Stoop, special agent in charge of the Baltimore Field Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The pants were found at the scene of an Arlington County, Va., fire that occurred Dec. 5, 2004.

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