Arson suspect to plead guilty
January 13, 2013
The 29-year-old Carroll man accused of torching an apartment in September 2012 and igniting a series of fires over the past year near his apartment plans to plead guilty next month to at least one criminal charge, according to court records.
Joshua Norbert Renze is charged with felony arson - punishable by up to 10 years in prison - and misdemeanor reckless use of fire. A court hearing in which Renze is expected to plead guilty is set for Feb. 3.
Renze was arrested in October after he allegedly ignited a rag and garbage can and tossed them out of his apartment in the 200 block of Main Street, which set fire to a couch. Then, two hours later, he allegedly tossed a fiery rag out of his apartment window into a trash bin.
Carroll firefighters previously responded to trash-bin fires in that area in June 2012 and April 2013, Fire Chief Greg Schreck has said.
Investigators declined to say how they linked Renze to the past fires, but court documents show that an ignited rag was used in each of the crimes.
No one was injured in the fires, but the 2012 apartment fire - in which Renze allegedly ignited a rag and put it on the living room floor of a neighbor's apartment - caused substantial damage to the apartment.
Renze underwent a court-ordered substance-abuse assessment in November, court records show, but the details of that assessment are not publicly available.
Renze is a registered sex offender who was convicted of sexual abuse and indecent exposure in February 2000 in eastern Iowa, when he was 15 years old, according to the Iowa Sex Offender Registry. His victim was an adult woman.
He is not employed and receives Social Security disability checks, according to court records. No information about his disability was immediately available.
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