EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — Agencies are continuing their investigation after an arson suspect was arrested in connection to the downtown Pearl Cleaners fire that erupted early Wednesday morning.
25-year-old Charles James Perrin was arrested Thursday afternoon and charged with arson and criminal mischief with a loss of at least $50,000.
Perrin was spotted at the scene Wednesday morning watching firefighters battle the fire he is now accused of igniting.
Officers say Perrin was asked to speak with detectives and voluntarily did so. According to an affidavit, Perrin admitted that he set the fire and did it for “self-gratification.”
Evansville Police believe Perrin set a shopping cart filled with blankets on fire inside the building by using a portable hand torch.
When asked why the suspect came back to the scene, EPD Officer Mario Reid says Perrin wanted to “admire his work.”
According to an affidavit, the historic Pearl Cleaners building is considered a “total loss” and was valued at nearly $450,000.
We’re told the Indiana State Fire Marshal is now the primary investigator and officials will inspect the remains to decide their next steps.
This is a developing story.