EPD: Arson suspect is in custody



EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – Police captured an arson suspect in a wooded area Friday afternoon.

Police said Randall James was placed into custody after a search on Friday.

Police said James fled the scene of the two arsons prior to officers arriving.

His vehicle was found abandoned in a ditch in northwestern Posey County, police said.

Police believed James was able to get a ride from where his car was abandoned to his home on St. Joseph Rd. in western Vanderburgh County.

EPD detectives gathered a probable cause to charge James for the arsons, which allowed them to get an arrest warrant.

EPD used its drones, K9 Unit, Crisis Negotiation Unit, and SWAT. With help from the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office and the Posey County Sheriff’s Office, James was apprehended.

He’s charged with arson, stalking, and criminal mischief.

Original story

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – Evansville Police are searching for an arson suspect in connection with two fires early Friday morning.

Around 4:25 a.m. a call from Grandview Towers. The Evansville Fire Department said the fire started on the fifth floor when someone called 911 stating that someone had set a fire outside their door.

Evansville Police said that call came from a woman who reported that she had received threatening messages from her ex-husband, Randall Eugene James earlier in the morning. She told police that James showed up at her apartment, banging on her door. After he allegedly made threats to her, the woman told police she reported the smell of gasoline and that her door burst into flames.

As EPD officers arrived and began the investigation, a fire was reported at a near by separate apartment complex. The ex-wife of James told investigators the address of the second fire on Old Bridge Court was the address of her mother’s apartment.

EPD said when officers responded to that location, they didn’t find a suspect in that fire.

During EPD’s investigation James’ vehicle was found abandoned in a ditch several miles from the arson scenes. Officers did not find James.

Randall James
Courtesy: Evansville Police

The EPD is currently looking for James in order to interview him about the arson allegations.

If anyone has knowledge or information about these incidents, please call the Evansville Police Department at 812-436-7979 or the WeTip line at 1-800-78-CRIME.

EFD said an accelerant was used to start the fire in the hallway. He said the same type of thing was done at Oak Bridge Court.

At least five fire trucks, Evansville police officers, and an ambulance were on the scene of Grandview Towers. The Evansville Fire Department said no one has been injured. Damage inside the apartment is mostly from water coming from the sprinkler system.

James was convicted of child molesting in 2002 and he is a registered sex offender. His registration is set to end in 2028.

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(This story was originally published on November 21, 2019)

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