Man suspected of setting fire to Van Buren Co. business now in custody
BANGOR, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Tuesday night, Bangor police say a man who set fire to a local business over the weekend is in custody after he escaped from a squad car and fled to a friend's apartment in Allegan County.
21 year old Dominick Wheeler is behind bars, facing multiple felony charges--primarily for the damage he did to a laundromat in Bangor, which is now taped off, boarded up and may never re-open.
Bangor Police Chief Tommy Simpson says he's relieved the suspect in this vicious crime has finally been captured.
"What he did was terrible, and from what we are hearing he wasn't even part of this community, as in living here, and did this damage," he said.
Police say Dominick Wheeler broke into the laundromat with a fire extinguisher, looted and destroyed the vending machines, and then set fire to the back of the laundromat.
He claimed he had a motive, but police say they won't release details until he is arraigned.
Police first arrested Wheeler at the laundromat Saturday, but he escaped from the back of the squad car.
"He was able to compromise the cage, climb out the cage, and then get out through the front," Chief Simpson said.
After more than six agencies searched for several days, social media and cellphone pings led Michigan State Police to an apartment in downtown Pullman, about 20 minutes from Bangor.
They say Wheeler was arrested peacefully, and faces hefty charges.
"Felony arson. Felony breaking and entering with intent. Felony damage to police property and felony resisting arrest," Chief Simpson said.
Police say Wheeler also had five outstanding warrants for non-violent crimes in both Van Buren and Allegan Counties that are unrelated to the laundromat incident.
Wheeler is being held in the Van Buren County Jail, on $250,000 bond.
Police say during an interview, Wheeler admitted to having a reason for damaging this business so extensively.
More information about that will be released after the arraignment.