‘Just to do it’: Man charged with 8 counts of arson across Brown County, dates back to 2018

Local News

(WFRV) – A man from Hobart is facing eight charges for separate arson incidents that date back to 2018, one of which gave his uncle a heart attack and later died.

According to the criminal complaint, 24-year-old James Ambrosius is charged with eight counts of arson dating back to 2018. Originally, authorities were called to interview Ambrosius on July 27, 2021, as he was seen at a scene of a fire and admitted to being in the parking lot and using cocaine in a vehicle.

The fire was at Dedicated Reapir Inc. and happened two days earlier on July 25. When authorities interviewed Ambrosius they said he was ‘very nervous’ and responded with ‘I am telling the truth man.’

When he was pressed on why he lied Ambrosius said he did not want the cops to know he was doing drugs and he relapsed after rehab. Ambrosius initially told authorities ‘I didn’t do it’ but later admitted to being inside the building and stealing money before the fire.

Reportedly Ambrosius said he needed the money to pay for drugs that he was fronted at the Seymour Fair on Saturday night. Originally Ambrosious said he only took 80 dollars, but later admitted he actually took all of the money and guessed it was maybe $140.

Ambrosius admitted to lighting the fire to cover up the burglary.

During multiple interviews, Ambrosious would admit to multiple fires for varying reasons.

July 20, 2021

Ambrosius said he caused this fire because the owner of Lazy S Farm owed him $3,000 and never paid him back. He jammed some paper towel into hay and started it with a lighter in the hayloft of the barn.

March 19, 2021

One of the fires was a truck fire at Dedicated Repair Inc that resulted in an insurance payment of $47,047.61. Ambrosius said the driver of the truck has a large dog and the truck is completely covered in dog hair. He said it was gross and didn’t like working on that truck so he put a lit cigarette into a large pile of dog hair in a vent. This fire happened on

November 3, 2020

Ambrosius also talked about a fire on the R.D. Farm where he went to the barn with the intent to burn it down. He apparently put a cigarette butt in a straw pile. The motive for this fire was because ‘the kids are a**holes and nobody likes them.’ Ambrosius said it was a working farm and that the cattle for sure died.

September 21, 2020

This fire happened during the end of bear hunting season and Ambrosius was in a bear hunting truck that ran out of gas. He went to a farm with a five-gallon gas tank and stole gas from the farm’s tank. Ambrosius then lit some hay until it started burning and when he drove past it at a later date the barn was down. He said he did it just to do it.

September 10, 2019

Ambrosius said that he and his dad were fighting for a few weeks and decided to light insulation in the corner of his dad’s basement. He mentioned that he waited until his dad left for work to light the fire and had second thoughts once the fire started. Ambrosius then put the fire out but mentioned that there is still fire and smoke damage at the residence.

August 7, 2018

This fire happened at Ambrosius’ Aunt and Uncle’s property. He explained that this fire haunts him the most because he felt bad that his uncle ended up having a heart attack when Ambrosius burned down the barn. His uncle survived the heart attack that night but died a short time later. The barn was located on Orlando Drive.

May 23, 2018

A ‘Restaurant Fire’ at Dedicated Repairs Inc that Ambrosius first denied but then admitted how he started the fire.

Authorities also asked if he started fires at a young age, which Ambrosius would again deny but later admit to trying to burn his mom’s house down at the age of 12 or 13. He said he put paper in the rafters of the basement and lighting it on fire, but it burned out.

Authorities also brought up fake fires that did not happen, but Ambrosius said he didn’t know about those and the eight fires are the only ones he has ever lit. Ambrosius told authorities that they probably had fires between here and Denmark that they were going to blame him for.

Ambrosius is charged with:

  • Seven counts of Arson of Building
    • Each count carries not more than 40 years in prison
  • One count of Arson of Property Other Than Building
    • Up to three and a half years in prison
  • One count of Obstructing an Officer
    • Up to nine months in prison
  • Two counts of Misdemenaor Theft
    • Each count has up to nine months in prison

There was no further information provided, Local 5 will update this story as more details are released.

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