Rochester Teenager Sentenced to Probation For Arson Conviction
Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - A Rochester teenager has been sentenced to five years on probation for his conviction on a charge stemming from a series of arson fires a year ago.
19-year-old Lawrence Johnson earlier entered a guilty plea to a third-degree arson charge through a plea agreement that resulted in the dismissal of a felony drug charge. Johnson was also ordered to pay $1500 in restitution His probationary sentence also covers Johnson's convictions on three felony burglary charges and a felony count of vehicle theft for separate incidents last year.
He was arrested last May after Rochester police found fires burning in two clothing dryers on separate floors inside Building A at the Edgewood Apartments in Southeast Rochester. Fire investigators determined combustible materials had been placed in the dryers and started on fire. Smoke from the fires was pouring into the hallways of the building and the tenants had to be evacuated
Later the same day, Rochester police responded to the same apartment complex and found a fire burning in another clothing dryer. Some tenants told officers they had earlier confronted a man they suspected of car prowling. The criminal complaint says their description of the man matched Johnson, and when he was located and interviewed, the officers detected the smell of smoke on his clothing and found he had five lighters in his possession.