Man charged with arson for multiple downtown dumpster fires

Wayne Oscar has been charged with arson for a string of downtown fires.

Great Falls Fire Rescue and Great Falls Police responded to reports of a dumpster fire near the Perkins restaurant downtown on Oct. 8.

Shortly thereafter, they learned of another dumpster fire nearby.

The first fire was a cardboard receptacle and the second was a plastic dumpster, according to court documents.

The fires damaged the containers, power lines and gas meters and threatened a building, according to court documents.

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Witnesses described the suspect as a Native American man wearing a red shirt and blue jeans.

On Oct. 9, a GFPD officer observed smoke in the area of 5th Street South and 1st Alley South. While enroute to investigate, the officer was notified of another reported dumpster fire in that alley.

Upon arrival in the alley, the officer found three dumpsters actively burning, according to court documents. There was one dumpster fire close to a vehicle and another at the base of a power pole, according to charging documents.

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Security camera footage from a nearby apartment building showed a Native American man in a red shirt and blue jeans walk by the area shortly before the fires were reported, according to court documents.

As GFFR was distinguishing those alley fires, another dumpster fire near the First United Methodist Church at 610 2nd. Ave. N. was reported.

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Witnesses at the church named Oscar and officers observed him on camera footage near the dumpsters before they caught fire, according to court documents.

Officers located Oscar a block away from FUMC wearing a red shirt and blue jeans.

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There was an outstanding warrant for his arrest and officers took him into custody, during which they discovered drug paraphernalia, for which he was also charged, according to court documents.

During an interview, Oscar told officers that he had started multiple fires and that he was upset the dumpsters were full, according to court documents.

Oscar was also arrested near the church in July and charged with a felony count of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, a misdemeanor count of criminal possession of drug paraphernalia, a felony count of criminal possession of dangerous drugs, and a felony count of intimidation.