Local man charged in 3 Dumpster fires

Cary Ashby • Sep 9, 2016 at 5:00 PM

A Willard man is accused of setting three Dumpster fires in the same apartment complex where he lives.

Michael C. Collins, 22, of 1000 Maplewood St., is charged with three counts of arson, a first-degree misdemeanor. He also faces one charge each of criminal damaging and aggravated menacing.

The Willard Police Department handled the criminal investigation while Willard Fire & Rescue extinguished the three blazes.

At 7:53 p.m. Aug. 6, a Maplewood Street resident reported a Dumpster fire in the apartment complex.

“Willard (firefighters) responded and put the fire down,” police Chief Mark Holden said.

The second suspected arson happened about six hours later. Holden said another resident reported another Dumpster fire at 2:04 a.m., which firefighters also extinguished.

“That’s at the same complex on the other side,” the chief added.

The third fire happened at 6:11 a.m. Aug. 13. 

Holden said police received some information that identified Collins as the suspect. Detective Jim Gilliam then interviewed the Willard man.

“Collins made some admissions. Then it was learned he took several wallets and put them in an oven and burned them up,” Holden said.

The criminal damaging charge is in connection with a July 14 incident.

Once police completed their investigation, they forwarded reports to the Willard Law Director’s Office for the consideration of charges. 

At one point, Collins is accused of threatening the apartment manager, Holden said. Collins is charged with aggravated menacing in connection with an Aug. 23 incident.

Police arrested Collins at his residence Aug. 23 and transported him to the Huron County Jail. According to jail records, a woman posted 10 percent of a $24,000 bond after Collins spent eight days behind bars.

Collins has entered “not guilty” pleas to the five misdemeanors, which were filed in Norwalk Municipal Court. The Huron County Public Defender’s Office is representing him.

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