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Man sentenced to 5 years for setting fire to stolen car ‘to destroy his prints’



ABILENE, TX – An Abilene man has been sentenced five years in prison for two counts of arson after setting a car on fire.

Joshua Antonio Stewart, 19, received his 5-year sentence during a hearing Friday after pleading guilty to Arson charges stemming from a November 2017 incident where he stole a family member’s car and set it on fire, according to court documents.

Police located a vehicle that had been reported stolen in an alley on Vine Street with the back passenger door open. Officers noticed that a fire had been set in the back passenger seat, where they found a plastic drink container filled with gasoline that had an orange rag stuffed in it, the document states.

Fire investigators noted that after the fire was set, the doors had been closed, which prevented oxygen from feeding the flames, and that the car had suffered an estimated $3,000.

A witness told police he had been hanging out with Stewart two days before the car was found in the alley, and that he wanted to take his family member’s car and drive it around. After they drove around for a while, Stewart said he wanted to either drive the car into Kirby Lake or set in on fire to “destroy his prints,” according to court documents.

The witness reported that Stewart drove the car into the alley, then went to fill up a plastic bottle with gasoline before returning to the vehicle, putting the bottle in the back seat and lighting it on fire.