Michigan City man, 70, charged with arson after vehicle fires

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(Photo supplied/LaPorte County Sheriff's Office)

The LaPorte County Regional Dispatch Center received a 911 call around 1:20 a.m. on Oct. 1, regarding a vehicle fire at the Garden Estates West apartment complex.

Once on scene, officers discovered one vehicle fully engulfed in fire and a second vehicle parked close by that also started to catch fire. The Michigan City Fire Department was dispatched to the scene and quickly extinguished the fire to both vehicles.

Officers initiated an investigation into the fire and were able to review video surveillance from the area. They discovered a person engaging in suspicious activity next to the two vehicles that caught fire.

Officers located the suspect within the Garden Estates apartment complex and detained him. He was transported to Franciscan Health Michigan City Hospital to seek medical treatment while officers continued with their investigation.

Officers collected multiple pieces of evidence during this investigation and arrested James Bowlby, 70, of Michigan City.

Officers executed a search warrant at Bowlby’s residence and located additional evidence inside which is associated with this investigation.

Bowlby has been charged with two counts of arson and is currently incarcerated at the LaPorte County Jail and was issued a $25,000 cash bond.

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