Maui police arrested a 28-year-old man for suspicion of first-degree arson after he allegedly set a Wailuku home on fire and then attempted to flee the island.
At about 4 a.m. Wednesday, officers responded to reports of a structure fire at a Wailuku residence, and found it engulfed in flames. Police said neighbors reported seeing a blue sport utility vehicle leaving the scene of the fire.
Police learned that James Wiles had recently been evicted from the home, and that he had threatened to burn it down if he was ever kicked out. He was also known to drive a blue Acura MDX which looked similar to the one seen leaving the scene.
Police located Wiles’ SUV parked at a Walmart parking lot, but he was not in it. Instead, a woman had possession of the SUV after he apparently had given it to her, saying he planned to leave the island, police said.
Officers later found and arrested Wiles at Kahului International Airport. Wiles also had two outstanding bench warrants amounting to $50,000, police said.
The Wailuku home was unoccupied at the time of the fire, with no one living in it. Damage is estimated at $130,000 and the investigation is ongoing.