By GARY POPP
The person believed to be responsible for setting fire to two outbuildings at a home on Utica Pike in March 2012 has been arrested by Anderson police and charged with arson, a class B felony, in Clark County.
After his arrest by Anderson police, and during subsequent interviews with investigators, Brandon L. Bates, 20, admitted that arson was his way of relieving stress, police reported.
The fire was set to a small shed on the property of the Utica Pike home and spread to a barn, which housed a 1936 airplane, said Jeffersonville Police Department Maj. Mike McCutcheon, and two vehicles, according to the probable-cause affidavit. McCutcheon said the structures were a total loss.
After Bates was in the custody of Anderson police, McCutcheon was in correspondence with investigators in the city just northeast of Indianapolis and it was determined Bates had information about the fire on Utica Pike, McCutcheon said.
Officials with JPD and JFD interviewed Bates in March while he was incarcerated, at which time he admitted to using matches and paper to start the fire.
“[Bates] started the fire due to its calming nature,” according to the probable-cause affidavit.
Bates said during the interview that he went to the Utica Pike home with the intent of starting a fire, and after it was ignited, he stayed in the area to watch the fire burn and the fire department work to extinguish the blaze. During their investigation, area officials made contact with Bates’ mother who told police her son had become “fascinated with fire” after he had come to live with her in 2011, according to police reports.
His mother told police she and her husband had come home from a week-long vacation in February 2012 and found Bates had attempted to burn some of their living room furniture.
While outside of her home in March 20, 2012, Bates’ mother saw smoke coming from nearby Utica Pike while her son was away. When Bates returned to the home, “he began speaking about the fire and the excitement of watching the buildings burn,” according to the report.
The report continues, “Brandon [Bates] added photos that he had taken while at the [fire] scene to his Facebook page with a posting stating, ‘The highlight of my night. A barn fire that had an airplane in it and 2 old cars along with other stuff.’”
Bates soon moved from his mother and stepfather’s home to a residence in Indianapolis, police reported.
According to The Herald Bulletin in Anderson, Bates was arrested Feb. 25 after he was accused of setting his own home on fire. He also is suspected of setting fire to at least three other fires in the Anderson area between December 2012 and February 21, The Herald Bulletin reported.
JPD officials said Friday that Bates will answer the charges he faces in Madison County, where he is incarcerated, before returning to Clark County to be prosecuted.