Trespassing transient sets fire at Garfield County Jail after being arrested
After not being cooperative with officers who arrested him on trespassing charges, a 25-year-old transient man set fire to his clothes at the Garfield County Jail.
Shortly before 5 p.m. on Feb. 24, Glenwood Springs police officers responded to a report of trespassing.
A woman reported that when she visited her property on Grand Avenue — that she was planning to rent out once renovated — she found a man sleeping in a closet. She followed him out of the house and called 911. When officers arrived, they did not locate the suspect immediately, according to the police report.
The woman described the man as having “scraggly hair, long brown bathrobe, no shirt, and being a younger Caucasian.” The woman had not visited the property for approximately a week and decided to check it out that day.
In the house she found a coffee maker, cigarette butts and food in the refrigerator that did not belong to her. Also left behind was a pink water bottle with the words “Sip, Sparkle, Repeat” on the side in a gold design. An officer “immediately recognized this bottle as being in the possession” of a 25-year-old man he arrested on Feb. 15 who was also wearing a bathrobe at the time of arrest. The woman’s description matched that man.
Later that night, at 9:41 p.m., officers were called to the Kum and Go “where the transients were harassing customers.” One of the transients was the 25-year-old man. The officer arrived, told the group why he was there and that they needed to leave. “All of the transients began to walk away and I stated to (the 25-year-old man) that I needed to talk to him and he walked back towards me,” the officer wrote in the report.
The officer advised the man that he was under arrest. Before the officer prompted the man or advised him why he was under arrest, the man said, “I thought I had squatters rights.”
After he was handcuffed and walked over to the patrol car, the man started shouting obscenities and resisting. At one point he stomped on the officer’s left foot. In trying to get the man in the patrol car, he kicked and attempted to bite the officers.
“Throughout the contact, (he) stated that he was going to ‘Rape’ us numerous times … and then he would chant a saying that I could not tell exactly what he was saying,” the officer wrote in the report.
During transit to the jail, the man continued to yell, scream, chant and headbutt the windows and plastic guards.
“At the Jail (he) was verbally and physically uncooperative with the jail deputies and was placed in a restraint chair,” according to the report.
The man was charged with second-degree burglary and second-degree assault, both felonies.
At around 10:30 p.m. that same night, officers were dispatched to a fire at the Garfield County Jail.
The 25-year-old man freed himself from his restraints, removed himself from the chair and retrieved a lighter hidden in his pocket, according to the report. He then removed his sweater and scarf, placed the items on the floor of his cell and lit them on fire.
“Jail staff were able to safely remove (the man) from the cell and extinguish the fire before any injuries or major damage occurred,” the report states.
Jail staff said the flames were around four feet high. A subsequent search of the burnt clothing uncovered a glass pipe suspected of being used to smoke marijuana.
The man was then given additional charges of fourth-degree arson and introducing contraband, both felonies, along with the misdemeanor of reckless endangerment.