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Affidavit details man started bathroom fire with lighter he bought from same gas station - Odessa American: Felony Arrests

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Affidavit details man started bathroom fire with lighter he bought from same gas station

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Posted: Monday, August 3, 2020 2:28 pm

A City of Odessa affidavit detailed that a 23-year-old man started a fire in a gas station bathroom after he purchased a lighter from the same gas station.

Ryan Lara was charged with arson, a second-degree felony.

The reported arson happened around 10:48 p.m. June 21 at the Pilot Travel Center located at 4200 W. Highway 302, a City of Odessa Fire Marshal’s affidavit stated.

The fire reportedly started on the toilet paper holder in a stall in the men’s restroom. The fire damaged the holder and the wall of the stall. The men’s restroom had smoke damage.

The manager of the gas station stated that they had security cameras throughout the building. The manager stated that a man, later identified as Lara, had been in the store for some time. The manager continued to explain that Lara ordered food and sat and ate his food.

The manager also reportedly detailed that Lara went to the bathroom, came back out, bought lighter and then went back into the restroom prior to leaving the building. The manager stated that a few minutes later smoke was visible from the restroom.

On July 17, the Fire Marshal’s office received video from the store’s security cameras, the affidavit stated. The video showed that Lara entered the restroom both times and bought a lighter. The video also showed Lara was the only person in the restroom prior to the fire and that no one else entered or exited the restroom again after he left until the smoke was visible from the restroom. The video also showed that Lara caused damage to cases of water located outside the restroom and stole a blanket as he exited the store.

Pictures of the man were sent to Odessa Crime Stoppers on July 29 and a tip was received that same day. The tip stated that the man Lara and was identified by his Facebook page.

After looking at the Facebook page, the Fire Marshal’s office was able to see the tattoo on his arm was the same as the man in the video. Lara also had the same hair and goatee.

Lara was arrested, charged and transported to the Ector County Law Enforcement Center. He was booked into jail on July 30, had one bond for $25,000 and posted bail on July 31, jail records show.

Odessa, TX

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