ITHACA, N.Y. — A man accused of setting a home on fire early Wednesday morning allegedly did so because he said his girlfriend was cheating on him with another man.
Joshua Reeves, 31, was taken into custody around noon Wednesday after a witness turned him in to the Ithaca police shortly after the incident. Reeves is charged with felony second-degree arson and still in custody Friday at the Tompkins County Jail on $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 bond.
Seven people were in the home when it went up in flames, and those people are still displaced. No injuries were reported.
Reeves is scheduled to appear in court again Tuesday at 11:45 p.m.
The felony complaint filed at the Ithaca City Court, which includes voluntary statements from people, states the following:
A teenager was asked by his father to drive Reeves into Ithaca to pick up a food stamp card. The teen, along with his cousin, drove Reeves to Hudson Street where Reeves got out of the truck and went into a home. He was gone for about 15 minutes, during which time the teen and his cousin were unable to see what Reeves was doing.
A man sleeping at 120 Hudson St., however, was able to tell police what preceded Reeves’ trip to Ithaca.
The man told police that Reeves accused him that night of sleeping with Reeves’ girlfriend.
“I then started receiving threatening text messages from Josh stating that…he was going to kill me, Josh sent a picture of a gun asking what I thought of it,” the man said. “Josh stated that he was going to be there in 10 minutes.”
The man said the text messages and phone calls from Reeves continued, so the man blocked Reeves’ phone number and went to sleep.
At some point, the man woke up to someone yelling that there was a fire at the home, a three-story duplex. He said he could see fire underneath a couch on the porch and he smelled the fire burning things.
The man said he was able to get shoes and pants from his room before being forced to leave the home though the backdoor.
Around the same time, the teen said Reeves ran back to the truck and they began driving away.
“As I started driving down the hill I saw on my left side a house on fire. The flames were high, almost two stories high,” the teen said. “When I saw the flames I put the truck in park to go help, but Josh yelled at me not to stop and told me to “Go,go,go” (and) I did not leave right away but the longer I waited the louder Josh yelled at me to leave. I left the area since Josh was yelling at me. I had smelled alcohol coming from Josh … I was thinking that if he just started a fire what would he do to me.”
The teen said that as he drove Reeves to a home in Dryden, Reeves said he found a video on his girlfriend’s phone of her and his best friend having a sexual relationship. The teen said Reeves told him that they “got what they deserved” and were “messing with the wrong person.”
The teen dropped off Reeves and called an adult who told him to immediately report the incident to the Ithaca police, which the teen promptly did.