Public Safety

Cedar Rapids man accused of arson after attempting to ignite woman's vehicle using gasoline and a cigarette

CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids man was arrested Sunday after he allegedly assaulted a woman and attempted to set her car on fire.

Cedar Rapids police said officers responded at about 6:30 p.m. Sunday to an apartment in the 300 block of 66th Avenue SW after it was reported a male suspect had assaulted a woman and attempted to set her car ablaze.

When they arrived, officers spoke to the victim who was waiting outside. The suspect, identified as Justin D. Childers, 30, was inside the apartment.

Police said the 50-year-old female victim stated Childers was doing mechanical work on her 2005 Toyota Corolla in the parking lot in front of the apartment complex when they had a disagreement.

Childers became upset, police said, and threw the victim’s TV outside. He then grabbed a gas can, walked over to the victim’s vehicle and poured gasoline of the vehicle’s roof and threatened to set it on fire, according to the criminal complaint.

When the victim attempted to intervene, Childers pushed her away, grabbing the glasses off her face and crushing them, according to the criminal complaint.

He then allegedly threw a lit cigarette into the gasoline in a failed attempt to ignite the gas. He also tried throwing burning paper inside the vehicle, police said.

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Officers said they found evidence of burned material on the vehicle where the cigarette was allegedly thrown, and there was the odor of gasoline about the vehicle. Burnt paper was also found inside the vehicle, police said. It also appeared Childers allegedly spray painted the side of the vehicle.

Childers is accused of second-degree arson and simple assault.

l Comments: (319) 398-8238; kat.russell@thegazette.com

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