BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — A man accused of arson told Bloomington police he set a car on fire to discourage people from stealing from it, court documents allege.
Police responded to a report of a suspicious person just after midnight in the parking lot of the Crawford Apartments on S. Henderson Street on Feb. 12. An officer said he found a man standing next to a 1998 Buick that was on fire.
The man, identified as Austin Bristoe, 26, reportedly told an officer the vehicle was his and he set it on fire to stop people from stealing items inside of it.
As police were talking to Bristoe, the car became engulfed in flames, and the fire caused several small explosion.
At one point, Bristoe reportedly said, “I hoped the explosions would be bigger,” as he watched the vehicle burn.
Court documents state Bristoe started the fire by cutting the fuel line, dumping gas and oil onto the car, and setting a bandana on fire and then throwing it into the trunk.
“Austin then stated that if there was nothing left of the vehicle then there would be nothing left to steal,” stated a police officer’s account in a probable cause affidavit.
Police arrested Bristoe on a preliminary charge of arson. When searching him, they found several packed syringes and a yellow powder he identified as benzodiazepine.
He was then booked on arson plus additional charges of unlawful possession of a syringe, hypodermic needle, and controlled substance.