Man charged after arson investigation

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Josh Lawrence

Josh Lawrence

A St. Joseph man has been charged after authorities began investigating a garage fire believed to have been intentionally set Thursday in midtown.

Joshuwa M. Lawrence, 29 is charged in Buchanan County with a felony for knowingly burning.

According to court documents, on Thursday Lawrence was seen on the sidewalk at the bottom of the stairs that lead to the back of 1305 S. 20th where a garage was fully engulfed in flames.

“According to the witness the defendant said that someone put out a cigarette and then took off in a hurry,” said Det. Richard Woodley with the St. Joseph Police Department. “The fire caused a total loss of the garage.”

Court documents said Lawrence has been arrested 22 times for failure to appear in municipal court, two times on a misdemeanor failure to appear in state court and one felony arrest for failure to appear.  He also has a criminal history that includes three convictions for domestic assault and violation of an adult order of protection.

“The defendant set the victims garage on fire,” Det. Woodley said. “The defendant is a suspect in another open arson investigation unrelated.”

Lawrence is set for an arraignment for Tuesday.  Bail has been denied.