Man accused of using TIKI torch during arson, assault

A 38-year-old man was arrested after he reportedly lit his girlfriend’s car on fire with a TIKI torch.

Joseph Cleaver was charged with aggravated assault with weapon (family violence), a second-degree felony, and arson, a second-degree felony.

The reported incident happened at 2:06 a.m. Sunday in the 500 block of Avenue C, an Odessa Police Department probable cause affidavit detailed.

According to OPD public relations manager Monica Quintero, officers believed that Cleaver was inside the residence when they arrived and all precautions were taken for a peaceful conclusion. It was discovered that during the standoff that Cleaver had left the residence prior to OPD’s arrival.

Quintero confirmed via email that Cleaver turned himself into law enforcement.

The complainant, identified as Victoria Vasquez, stated her boyfriend, Cleaver, had set her 2005 silver Chrysler 300 on fire, an affidavit stated. Vasquez told police that she was in the vehicle and Cleaver came out of the residence arguing and shouting at her that he set her up. Vasquez stated Cleaver had a blue plastic gas container and started pouring it on the hood of her vehicle.

Vasquez detailed to police that Cleaver reportedly grabbed a TIKI container, which has primary use to repel bugs already lit with fire and placed it on the hood of her car to light the car on fire. Officers saw another vehicle catch on fire as well as a nearby tree.

Cleaver was booked into the Ector County Law Enforcement Center on Sunday, jail records show. He has two bonds totaling $60,000 and was still in custody as of Monday afternoon.