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Charles Joseph Caplette


A man tried to burn down the apartment he was a guest in after having a falling-out with the renter, according to charges filed Tuesday.

Charles Joseph Caplette, 50, appeared in Yellowstone County Justice Court on Tuesday on arson and criminal endangerment charges.

Caplette had been allowed to stay in the apartment on the 200 block of North 18th Street for a few days, the renter told police, because a mutual friend had asked, as a favor to Caplette. But then the man’s belongings began disappearing and Caplette started moving in items in that the man did not want. Caplette also became violent, the man said.

When Caplette came over late Friday night, the man changed the locks to the apartment and told Caplette he could not stay there anymore, according to charges. But Caplette returned hours later, knocked on the door, called the man’s name and then walked to the back of the building, witnesses inside the apartment told police.

The witnesses heard loud noises coming from the back of the building and found a plastic bedroom window engulfed in flame, they told police. Police on scene smelled gasoline, and neighbors later said they saw a man running from the scene who fit the description of Caplette.

Police found Caplette soon after at the Montana Rescue Mission with gasoline and melted plastic on his boots.

Caplette told one of the men in the apartment earlier in the night that he planned to start a fire, that he didn't care if it killed everyone inside and that he would stab the man, charges state. 



Justice Reporter

Justice reporter for the Billings Gazette.