Man suspected of setting camper on fire

Alan Tawney

A Grand Junction man was arrested early Sunday morning on suspicion of using gasoline to set a camper on fire and later kicking out the back window of a patrol car as he was being taken to jail, according to the Grand Junction Police Department.

Alan Edward Tawney appeared highly intoxicated after a police officer detained him at Taser point in the parking lot of Texas Roadhouse, 2870 North Ave.

Minutes earlier, just before 1 a.m. Sunday, Tawney was visiting with two other men in a motel room at Le Master Hotel, 2858 North Ave.

According to an arrest affidavit, Tawney became belligerent and began arguing with the other men, and one of the men went to retrieve a jacket in a camper parked on the property. As the man was in the trailer, he heard scratching noises outside, smelled gasoline and exited the camper to find it on fire. The blaze was then doused with a fire extinguisher.

A property maintenance worker saw Tawney walking from the burning camper with a milk jug in his hand, and another man saw him go to his home at No. 7 in the motel and exit with a milk jug, according to the affidavit.

Tawney was arrested about a block away from the scene in the restaurant’s parking lot. Tawney kicked and partially destroyed a left rear window of a patrol car, causing about $1,000 in damages, the affidavit said.

Officers found a plastic jug with gasoline residue on the roof of a carport that Tawney had been standing under.

Tawney was arrested on suspicion of first-degree arson, criminal mischief, both felonies, and a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment.


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