WHEELING — A homeless man is being held in the Northern Regional Jail accused of an arson fire that damaged property owned by an organization created to help the homeless.
James Hamilton, 50, of “the streets of Wheeling,” was arrested Sunday on a third-degree felony charge of arson. He is accused of starting a fire at 9:26 p.m. Saturday at an 18th Street parking lot that resulted in heavy damage to a van owned by Wheeling Catholic Charities. According to a report from the Wheeling Police Department, Hamilton is suspected of other fires in the area.
At 9:26 p.m. Saturday, officers responded to the parking lot across from Catholic Charities in regard to what appeared to be an intentionally set fire. According to witnesses, Hamilton dumped a garbage bag full of blankets on the ground next to the van. The witnesses told police they saw flames and then saw Hamilton leave the area.
Officers searching for Hamilton reportedly found him at 11 a.m. Sunday, sitting beside a camp fire in a wooded area next to 56 19th St. He was taken into custody, and his belongs were gathered by police.
Hamilton was arraigned Sunday by Ohio County Magistrate Harry Radcliffe. Bond was set at $25,000.