MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A 33-year-old St. Paul Park man is accused of trying to set his ex-girlfriend’s home on fire after she apparently stole items out of his vehicle, according to charges filed Thursday in Dakota County Court.
Paul David Garay was charged with two felony counts of first-degree burglary and one felony count of first-degree criminal damage to property in connection with the incident, which happened Sunday in South St. Paul.
According to the charges, South St. Paul Police were called to a residence on 9th Avenue South just before midnight Sunday on a report that a man was pouring gas on the floor of the residence and was going to set it on fire. When authorities arrived, a man identified as Garay was sitting on the front steps of the home and was cooperative with police.
He told police that his ex-girlfriend took his car and items that were in his car earlier in the night, according to the complaint. Garay then came over to her house and poured gasoline on the floor with the intent to start it on fire, the complaint states.
He then changed his mind shortly before officers arrived. Garay was taken into custody.
The complaint states a friend of his ex-girlfriend was at the residence at the time with the victim’s 6-year-old son. She told police the front door was locked, she heard a noise and when she came into the living room, she found Garay carrying a gas can. The woman begged him not to do it and left with the 6-year-old boy.
Officers also observed that a window near the front door to the home had been broken due to a forced entry. When authorities entered the home, it smelled of gas and they eventually found a one gallon gas can on the kitchen counter.
If convicted on all charges, Garay faces up to 45 years in prison and $80,000 in fines.