(Michigan City, IN) - A Michigan City man denied setting fire to two vehicles, but a surveillance camera captured his alleged actions.
James Bowlby, 70, is charged in La Porte Superior Court 1 with two counts of arson.
According to court documents, emergency responders after 1 a.m. on October 1 found two vehicles fully engulfed in flames at a housing complex on Pine Tree Court on the city’s south side.
One of the victims advised she had a security camera facing the vehicles parked directly in front of her apartment.
The footage reviewed by police showed a man holding what looked like a white grocery bag with an unknown object or substance inside. The man walked between the vehicles, bent down and a flicker of flame began emerging from under one of the vehicles.
Police said the man was still bending down when the flame began intensifying. The man was identified as Bowlby, who lives in one of the nearby apartments at the complex.
When approached by investigators, police said Bowlby explained the last time he left his apartment was several hours ago for dialysis treatment. He was then informed about the man looking similar to him captured on the video.
According to court documents, a jacket and black shoes identified as worn by the man in the footage were also located in his apartment.
No light was shed on the motive.
Bowlby could face anywhere from a 2 to 12-year sentence on each level 4 felony count.