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Man arrested for allegedly setting ex's car on fire at Lake Delton hotel
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Man arrested for allegedly setting ex's car on fire at Lake Delton hotel

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A Chicago man was charged with felony arson Wednesday after being caught on security footage obtaining gasoline to set a former girlfriend’s car on fire in Wisconsin Dells.

Nathaniel V. Griffin, 47, faces a maximum prison sentence of three years and six months as well as a fine up to $10,000 for a count of felony arson of property other than a building.

According to the criminal complaint, police were called around 2:45 a.m. June 7 to the Delton Marriott Suites, where they found a car fully engulfed in flames in the parking lot. They were able to identify the license plate and tracked down the owner, who said she had rented the vehicle in Illinois and had just arrived that day and that no one knew she was there because the trip was organized only two days before then.

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Police reviewed security footage of the parking lot. The video showed a person walking up to the hood of the car, starting a small fire and then returning to pour an accelerant on the flames. The fire quickly grew and video showed the person running away with small fires lit on them. According to the complaint, the camera was too far away to discern much of a description of the person.

Police officer Alexandra Platt asked the owner of Dyno Stop I along Wisconsin Dells Parkway to review video surveillance footage for anyone filling containers with gasoline. A clip showed a man filling a bottle with gas around 2:38 a.m. the day of the arson. The man, who was later identified as Griffin, could be seen with a mask around his chin getting out to pump gas into a clear bottle.

The woman confirmed the man in the video was Griffin and expressed shock that he would set her vehicle on fire. The two talked occasionally and Griffin had said he wanted them to reunite as a couple. In August, police spoke to a family member who said that Griffin had yelled and demanded he tell him where the woman was, but the family member said he didn’t know where she was on vacation until she returned home.

According to cell phone records obtained by authorities, Griffin had driven to that residence before driving onto interstates and arriving in Lake Delton, where he stayed “for a short amount of time” during the time of the fire before returning to Chicago.

Griffin is scheduled for an initial appearance Nov. 17 in Sauk County Circuit Court.

Follow Bridget on Twitter @cookebridget or contact her at 608-745-3513.

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