Neighbor accused of breaking into, setting fire to Muncie home

(Photos provided)

MUNCIE, Ind. (WTHR) - Dingo told us it's one thing that a neighbor would allegedly break into his Muncie home while he was away, then try to cover the security camera lens.

“I would never suspect he would set my house on fire,” said Dingo, who wanted us to use only his nickname.

It happened on West Wilson Avenue. The suspect was caught by that camera, say police reports.

“It broke my heart," Dingo said. "It hurt my feelings a lot.”

It hurt because he says recognized the face on the video. A neighbor’s face.

“I’ve always tried to help people out and, like I said, I have helped that neighbor out numerous times,” said Dingo.

The house was heavily damaged, just as the Dingo was finalizing its sale to another neighbor. The outcome could have been much worse. Dingo and his family, a pregnant wife and children, were away at the time of the blaze.

We found the neighbors relieved Monday to learn police had arrested a suspect.

“Did they catch somebody?” Arleena Brown asked us Monday, hours after police took Michael Reich, 28, into custody. “So it won’t happen again? There are a lot of empty houses here.”

Brown says any house on the street is a target and it has people edgy.

Donald Oliver recently caught a man on his enclosed front porch.

“I pulled a gun and put it down his throat,” Oliver said. The intruder wasn’t the alleged arsonist, he told us.

“I’ve got news for him. If he comes back on my porch, he’s done."

Oliver's neighbor, Robert Cornett, said “It’s been a lot of concern around here, because that’s not the only place people been breaking into and everything else. Guy across the street got broken into. This house here, there’s always squatters getting in there.“

Cornett and others have been busy setting up home security cameras. Next door, Roberta Williamson has cameras, along with a warning sign in her front window. She says she needs the cameras

“So I can watch more from my place, because I’ve got babies in there," she said.

Reich faces arson and burglary charges.

A fund has been established to help the fire victims make repairs to their home.

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