Woman charged with arson

Tuesday, June 7, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 10:49 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 17, 2008

A woman suspected of trying to set fire to her ex-boyfriend’s third-floor apartment and two cars was arrested Friday by Columbia police.

The cars belong to the ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend.

“We were closely watching for this suspect because it wasn’t a single episode of arson,” said Columbia Fire Department Battalion Chief Steven Sapp. “The suspect went back to the same scene a second time. Our fear was that she was going to do this again.”

After an investigation by the police and fire departments, Monica R. Simmons, 35, of 310 W. Worley St. was arrested on suspicion of two counts of first-degree arson. She was being held Monday at the Boone County Jail on $75,000 bond.

According to a news release, Simmons is suspected of setting fire to a towel placed under her ex-boyfriend’s door at Oak Towers, 700 N. Garth Ave., on Feb. 27. The fire burned the towel and charred the door, Sapp said. She is accused of trying to set fire to the apartment on March 13 using a towel and pouring gasoline on two cars in the building’s parking lot. No damages were reported in either fire.

Sapp said Simmons implicated herself in the fires and said she set the fires because of a failed relationship with her ex-boyfriend.

According to a news release, Simmons was arrested after several CrimeStoppers tips helped investigators locate her. Sapp said some of Simmons’ friends misled investigators, telling them that Simmons had moved to the Milwaukee area. Columbia police might file further charges against those who misled authorities or harbored Simmons, he said.

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