St. Cloud Man Charged With Arson
ST. CLOUD -- An arrest has been made and charges filed stemming from a St. Cloud arson fire last week. St. Cloud Police reported an arson investigation in the 100 block of 33rd Avenue North from early Thursday morning. Now, records show the suspect is an ex-boyfriend of a woman staying at the home.
Stearns County prosecutors have charged 38-year-old Desmond Jones with one count of first degree arson.
According to the criminal complaint a woman who was staying at the home told police she had ended the relationship with Jones and filed a restraining order against him after he was exhibiting concerning behavior. She was staying at the home on 33rd Avenue to hide from him.
In the early morning hours of June 25th, a man inside the home heard a "whoosh" sound and saw flames coming from outside the house. That witness also positively identified a man leaving the scene as Jones.
Records show a neighbor called 911 and another neighbor put the flames out with a garden hose.
Police later found and arrested Jones. During the initial interview, he told police a lengthy story including information that he had been to the SuperAmerica gas station earlier. Police interviewed the clerk who said Jones had come in the store, arriving by foot, looking for a gas can. A customer ultimately lent Jones a can and he bought $3.25 worth of gas and left the scene.
Police say the gas station is about 10 blocks from the scene of the arson fire. Officers say they also found a gas can left at the scene believed to be used in the crime.
The Stearns County Attorney's Office says Jones was recently released from jail pending sentencing on a conviction of felony fleeing police and gross misdemeanor DWI. He's now jailed on $800,000 bail and is awaiting his next court appearance on the arson charge.