MIDDLETOWN, Ind. — A police report reveals that a Middletown man was reportedly on a four-day meth high when he set fire to his car in order to “scare” a “tiny man” he believed was in the vehicle.
Shea Erlandson, 32, faces one count of arson after the fire spread to a barn/garage and completely engulfed the structure in flames. He is also charged with disarming a law enforcement officer, possession of methamphetamine and unlawful possession of a syringe.
According to Henry County Sheriff’s Department reports, deputies were called out to the home on Raider Road shortly before 6 a.m. on Tuesday on report of a vehicle fire. Deputies arrived on scene and noted that the barn/garage was fully engulfed in flames.
Erlandson was found inside the nearby residence. He reportedly blurted out to officers, “I didn’t mean to catch the barn on fire. I was trying to get the tiny man out of my car by scaring him with fire.”
Deputies learned that Middletown police officer had previously been to the Raider Road home where Erlandson stayed with family members in the days prior to the fire. Family members said Erlandson had been “acting crazy” the past two days and claiming there were “people in his car and in the backyard.”
Deputies were told by family members that Erlandson was on a four-day meth high at the time of his arrest. He reportedly hadn’t slept either during that timeframe.
According to police reports, Erlandson admitted to starting the fire by putting a small amount of gas in the car. He said he lit the fire in order “to make a boom” in his attempt to scare away the “tiny man.”
A later search of the property uncovered a decoy soda can that deputies found meth within.
While being transferred from the hospital to Henry County Jail, Erlandson is accused of attempting to take a deputy’s patrol rifle from his vehicle’s rifle rack. Erlandson reportedly had his hands around the barrel of the rifle before the deputy was able to pull him from the vehicle.
The owner of the barn/garage told deputies that the barn/garage was estimated to be worth $60-70,000. The owner told deputies he had just purchased the property only weeks prior to the fire.
Erlandson faces between two and 12 years in prison if convicted of his arson charge.