Man accused of setting van on fire because of dog

The van’s owner said he owed the man thousands of dollars for a German shepherd and drugs.

An Oak Harbor man is accused of setting a van on fire because he was mad at the vehicle’s owner over a disagreement involving a German shepherd, according to court documents.

Nobody was injured in the Sept. 28 fire on Southeast Midway Boulevard, but the van was destroyed and the fire spread to a nearby car and scorched an apartment building.

James S. Kiesel Jr., 35, appeared in Island County Superior Court Oct. 16. The judge found there was probable cause to believe Kiesel committed the crime of arson in the first degree and set his bail at $15,000.

The fire was reported at about 4 a.m. and firefighters quickly extinguished the flaming Dodge Caravan and the nearby car. The apartment complex with 11 occupied units was also damaged by the heat.

The fire appeared to have started in the area of the gas cap, according to the police report on the case.

The owner of the van said he owed Kiesel thousands of dollars for the German shepherd and drugs. The man said Kiesel stole the dog for a while and the van owner “had to beat him up a couple of times until Kiesel returned the dog,” the report states.

Police and firefighters tracked down video from multiple surveillance cameras in the area and were able to reconstruct Kiesel’s alleged movements that night, the officer wrote.

The videos showed the suspect being dropped off by another vehicle in the area, getting on a motorcycle, walking the bike up some stairs and then walking back up the stairs and going toward the victim’s van.

A video shows the suspect lighting a trail of “what looks like gasoline” leading to the van. The suspect grabs a gas can and runs away, the report states.

Kiesel has a lengthy criminal history that includes vehicle theft, attempting to elude, theft and tampering with a witness, according to court documents.

More in News

Coupeville Middle School students are returning to campus, but not for class

Students in grades 6-8 will return to campus on March 8 in the afternoons for two days a week.

Camano man accused of murder appears in court

The man was accused of shooting two people, killing one, at a Camano Island home on Feb. 28.

House passes ban on certain police use-of-force tactics

Chokeholds are prohibited, car are chases limited and military equipment is not allowed.

High court ruling in drug possession case has multitude of implications

Sheriff Rick Felici said an inmate at the jail on a felony drug possession case would be released.

UW professor floats idea for tunnel between Whidbey, Mukilteo

The underwater alternative to the state’s ferry system involves a tunnel 610 feet below sea level.

WhidbeyHealth EMS, North Whidbey Fire and Rescue, a Navy Search and Rescue team and state parks personnel all responded to the call for help. Photo provided by NWFR.
With tide rising, girl, 10, rescued from mud Sunday

The water was up to the girl’s shoulders by the time rescuers were able to free her.

Nine deer, including these three, showed up at Coupeville Town Hall on Feb. 23. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
Deer ordinance may be in the works for Coupeville

One resident said the sheer amount of deer urine is “overwhelming” and creates puddles at his door.

The Whidbey Scenic Isle Way runs through Greenbank, with water views. Photo by Sherrye Wyatt
Scenic byway earns national designation

T he Cascade Loop, including the Whidbey Scenic Isle Way, is now a National Scenic Byway.

Most Read