PITTSBURG — A Pittsburg man is being held on $100,000 bond on allegations of aggravated arson and attempted murder of a homeless woman.
According to a release from the Pittsburg Police Department, at about 5:30 p.m., Friday, a PPD officer was dispatched to The Home Place, 616 N. Broadway in reference to an incident that had occurred in the alcove area of the business.
According to the initial investigation, a homeless individual identified as Chrystal Thompson had been sleeping in the alcove area in front of the store. Thompson approached the owner of the store and indicated she thought a hand warming device she was using to stay warm had accidentally caught her blankets on fire during the previous night and left a burn mark on the tile flooring.
The owner of the store reported to police that, after reviewing surveillance video, they observed a man approach Thompson while she was sleeping and appeared to intentionally set her blankets on fire, then walking away from the area. The blankets burned for a moment before going out on their own. Subsequently, officers were able to contact Thompson, who assisted in identifying the man seen in the surveillance video.
At about 12:45 p.m. Saturday, PPD officers along with a Crawford County Sheriff’s deputy made contact with the man at a residence in Pittsburg. The suspect, Richard Lee Dickerson, 60, of Pittsburg, was taken into custody without incident.
Dickerson was taken to the Crawford County Jail facing counts of attempted murder, aggravated arson and criminal damage to property.
He was also arrested in October of last year on a battery count and has previous felony convictions for drug sales and drug possession dating from 1997 and 2002, respectively.
Aggravated arson is a level 3 person felony, carrying a penalty of between 55 and 247 months in prison, depending upon criminal record, attempted murder is also a level 3 person felony.
Criminal damage is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in the county jail.
The investigation into this incident is ongoing. Anyone having information related to this incident, or other incidents, is urged to contact the Pittsburg Police Department at 620-231-1700, or on the tip line, 620-231-TIPS (8477). Callers may remain anonymous.