Wrightsville Beach police responding to reports of a suspicious person in the Johnnie Mercer’s Pier parking lot instead found a vehicle fire, leading to the arrest of a Wilmington man on charges of burning property in the commission of a felony after he told police he set the pickup truck on fire.
Joseph Arthur Eudy, 19, of Wilmington, was in the New Hanover County jail on Wednesday under a bond of $75,000 after being charged with breaking and entering a motor vehicle, burning of personal property, burning of property during the commission of a felony, consuming alcohol under 21 and obtaining alcohol by false identification.
Police said they received a call about a suspicious male trying to enter vehicles in the parking lot at about 3:16 a.m. on Wednesday. Upon arrival, they found Eudy sitting on the drivers side of a grey Dodge pickup truck with the door open and smoke billowing from the cab. After leaving the vehicle following police instructions, flames overtook the vehicle, and Eudy admitted to officers that he set the fire, police said. However, while he said he thought it was his vehicle, the truck belonged to someone else.
Police said Eudy could not explain why he had set the fire. Police said that state statutes on arson generally only apply to occupied homes or dwellings, not vehicles.