Man facing 4 arson charges after setting fire to cars in Greenwood, Indy

An Indianapolis man is facing criminal charges after prosecutors say he set fires to cars in Johnson and Marion counties.

Elijah J. Houk, 26, is charged with arson, a Level 4 felony. He is also facing three counts of arson as a Level 4 felony in Marion County for related arson incidents.

Greenwood Police began investigating Houk after responding to a vehicle fire in the 1100 block of Standish Drive in the early morning hours of Jan. 4. A tan SUV was fully engulfed in flames next to a home, and the residents had to be evacuated, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in Johnson County Superior Court 2 on Jan. 26.

The vehicle owner, who lived at the home, initially told police he had no enemies. He later told police there was an issue with Houk and the two were in a dispute over Houk’s former girlfriend, according to the affidavit.

Police did not initially know what caused the fire. However, as the burned SUV was being loaded onto a wrecker, police found what appeared to be a “fire log” in the driveway. The log had a strong odor of gasoline, according to the affidavit.

While officers were still on scene, the vehicle owner received a call from a woman who said her cars were set on fire outside her Indianapolis home. Police spoke with the woman, who said she believed Houk set the cars on fire.

The woman said she had recently blocked him on all forms of communication and filed a restraining order. She said Houk had been stalking and threatening her, the affidavit says.

Detectives from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department told Greenwood Police that they had spoken with an acquaintance of Houk’s, who said they had received several text messages from him in the early hours of Jan. 4 that said “911.” Houk had allegedly asked the friend to call him, however, they ended up doing a Facetime call because Houk believed police wouldn’t be able to track it, according to the affidavit.

In the call, Houk reportedly told the acquaintance that he ‘f——- up’ and that he burned the woman’s car, her friend’s car and her parents’ cars. Houk appeared to sound drunk, and said he burned the cars because he had been ‘hurting,’ the acquaintance told police.

Police obtained search warrants for Houk’s cell phone records, which indicated he was in the area of both fires around the time they occurred, according to the affidavit.

Houk was booked into the Johnson County jail on Wednesday afternoon, where his bond was set at $1,200.

Houk was not arrested sooner because he was being held in Marion County jail because of the other arson charges he is facing.