A Columbus woman who learned her ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend was pregnant torched his lover’s car, then called the couple on Facebook and said, “Yeah, I set your car on fire,” according to testimony Tuesday in Columbus Recorder’s Court.
The fire was reported at 3:23 a.m. May 27 in the 2600 block of Fourth Avenue, where someone had removed the fuel cap on a 2008 Ford Focus, stuffed a rag into the gas tank and ignited the cloth, said Fire Investigator Charles Collins.
Despite what folks see in the movies and on TV, this typically does not make a car explode into flames. But the fire still spread, burning around the Ford’s exterior before breaking a window and setting off the air bags inside, Collins said.
The car, estimated at $5,290, was a total loss.
The victim told Collins she knew who set the fire, because of the Facebook call. She said Sherri Thomas hung up after admitting to setting the fire.
The victim testified that Thomas is her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend. The two have been having trouble since Thomas discovered the victim is now pregnant.
Thomas, 30, was arrested about 10:30 p.m. Monday at the Foxy Lady Lounge, 3023 Victory Drive, according to jail records.
She was charged with first-degree arson, but Recorder’s Court prosecutor Matt Brown told Judge Julius Hunter the more appropriate offense was second-degree arson. First-degree arson applies only to a dwelling place such as a home, though it may include a recreational vehicle being used as a residence, Brown said.
Hunter changed the arson count to second degree, and at Brown’s request added a felony charge of second-degree criminal damage. He set Thomas’ bonds at $20,000 for arson and $5,000 for criminal damage, and sent the case to Muscogee Superior Court.