Beech Grove man sentenced for Greenwood apartment, Amtrak arsons

A Beech Grove man was sentenced to eight years in federal prison for setting fire to a Greenwood apartment complex and an Amtrak facility in Beech Grove.

Casey Sage, 35, was sentenced Tuesday after pleading guilty to arson of federal property and arson of a property of an organization receiving federal financial assistance. As part of the sentence, U.S. District Judge James Hanlon ordered that Sage be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for five years following his release from federal prison.

On May 1, 2021, Sage entered an Amtrak facility located at 202 Garstang St. in Beech Grove, ignited a railroad flare and threw it into a building used to store acetone, paint, denatured alcohol, varnish, spray paint, degreaser, engine starting fluid and paint remover. This quickly started a fire that spread to another nearby building used to store flammable material, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana news release.

Both buildings were destroyed by the fire, and Sage caused more than $1.1 million in damages to the Amtrak facility. He was seen on surveillance video entering the facility, and his fingerprints were found on an acetone bottle he had taken from the facility and later dropped before stopping at a nearby gas station, prosecutors say.

During an interview with investigators in June 2021, he admitted to the Amtrak arson. When asked if he had set any other fires, he then told investigators he set a fire in Greenwood a few days before.

Greenwood firefighters were dispatched on a report of a residential fire along the 1100 block of Southbridge Circle in the Cambridge Square Apartment Complex around 10:07 a.m. April 15, 2021. A fire was reported in one of the building’s units, court documents say.

Sage told investigators in June 2021 that he entered an apartment belonging to his ex-girlfriend, and after looking around the master bedroom, he started a fire. The fire then spread to most of the apartment before it was extinguished by firefighters, prosecutors say.

A maintenance employee told investigators they encountered Sage on the property prior to the fire. Sage allegedly told the employee he should go “check” a building and gestured towards the apartment building before running away. When the employee went to the building, he could see flames in the window of one of the units, according to court documents.

The employee attempted to put the fire out with a fire extinguisher, but was almost overcome with smoke and had to leave. He then worked to evacuate occupants from the 11 other units in the building, court documents say.

The building was occupied at the time of the fire, court documents show.

The arson caused more than $100,000 in damages to the apartment building and approximately $10,000 in property losses for the tenant, prosecutors say. Because the complex receives Section 8 funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, federal charges were filed for this incident.

“The arsons committed by the defendant were an outrageous course of conduct that endangered apartment complex residents and emergency personnel,” Zachary A. Myers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, said in a statement. “… The serious sentence imposed today demonstrates that those who commit arsons with utter disregard for the lives and safety of the public will be held accountable.”

The cases were investigated by the Amtrak Office of the Inspector General, Amtrak Police, Beech Grove Police Department, Greenwood Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Homeland Security and the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.