Police: Bentonville Man Confessed To Vehicle Arson

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FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) — A Bentonville man admitted to setting another man’s car on fire after he became entangled in a lovers quarrel between the man and his girlfriend, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Martin Diaz, 22, was arrested Wednesday (July 5) in connection with felony arson and second-degree criminal mischief. Diaz also faces a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Diaz told police he was trying to protect the man’s girlfriend, who Diaz said the man was harassing, according to the affidavit. However, the victim said Diaz was spoofing his cell phone number and trying to “get” with the woman behind his back.

Yet another man said he, Diaz and the victim were all romantically linked to the woman and Diaz was “obsessed with her,” according to the affidavit.

Police responded to a suspicious call about 12:38 a.m. Monday on East Battlefield Boulevard in Bentonville, where they saw a man trying to extinguish a burning car. Expletives were spray-painted on other cars near the burning vehicle as well as on the fence of a nearby home.

Damage from the fire, which melted some side paneling on the house, was estimated at $30,000.

Officers initially linked Diaz to the incident thanks to a witness and surveillance footage from a nearby traffic camera. Both spotted a white Dodge Dart with a black bumper in the area around the time of the fire. Police discovered Diaz had posted a picture of a similar vehicle to his Facebook page, according to the affidavit.

Diaz was being held Thursday (July 6) at the Benton County Jail on a $20,000 bond. He has a hearing set for Aug. 14 in Benton County Circuit Court.