MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A 36-year-old St. Cloud man has been charged with arson in connection to a residential fire at the end of last month.
James Richard Scholtes faces one count of arson in Stearns County, according to documents filed Wednesday.
According to the criminal complaint, St. Cloud police officers were dispatched to the 1500 block of 2nd Street North around 7 a.m. on July 24. It was the third time in a 10-hour time span that they had been dispatched to that residence.
When they arrived they spoke to a man who reported a burglary and assault earlier that morning. He later saw Scholtes on the roof of his porch, approaching him.
The man said he ran to grab his phone and said he smelled something like paint or lighter fluid. He then ran to his neighbor’s door and saw smoke coming out of his residence and Scholtes allegedly fleeing the area.
The complaint goes on to say that multiple rooms in the residence sustained fire damage.
If convicted, Scholtes could face up to 20 years in prison.