Local man arrested on arson charge

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Arson is suspected in a fire that caused moderate damage to this home on Grandview Avenue in Hope. (Photo by KEITH KINNAIRD)

SANDPOINT — A Bonner County man was arrested Monday in connection with a fire that damaged a home in Hope last month.

Lawrence Wayne Cross Jr. is charged with first-degree arson, according to the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office. Cross is slated to make an initial appearance today in Bonner County Magistrate Court.

Sheriff’s officials put out a news release Monday seeking the whereabouts of Cross, but by day’s end he was in custody.

“He’s been apprehended,” Undersheriff Bob Bussey said.

Cross, who also goes by the nickname “Bunky,” was sought on a $100,000 arrest warrant stemming from a June 26 structure fire that damaged a home in the 300 block of Grandview Avenue.

Fire broke out at the modest home overlooking Lake Pend Oreille shortly after 7 p.m. Firefighters from the Hope and Sam Owen fire districts knocked quickly knocked down the fire and there were no reports of injuries.

Detectives discovered evidence that accelerants were used to start and aid the fire, the sheriff’s office said in a news release. Cross was reportedly seen leaving the scene minutes before the fire was detected.

The home remained partially encircled in yellow police tape on Monday. A fire-damaged couch sat in a backyard and windows on the rear corner of the home were sealed with press board panels.

The fire occurred at the home of a man who was arrested on June 23 for firing a semiautomatic pistol toward his wife during a domestic dispute.

Raymond Wayne Gamboa, who is charged with aggravated assault and unlawful possession of a firearm, was being held at the Bonner County Jail when the fire happened.

A day after Gamboa’s arrest, dispatchers received reports of threats, a burglary and an out-of-state inquiry about Idaho’s eviction laws, according to a log of calls received by dispatchers. All three calls related to a residence on Grandview.

Gamboa, 50, is being held in lieu of $50,000 and preliminary hearing in his case is set for Wednesday in magistrate court. The court will also take up a defense motion to reduce Gamboa’s bond.

Cross, 51, has been subpoenaed as a witness in Gamboa’s criminal case, court documents indicate.

Court records further show that Cross is scheduled to be tried in 1st District Court next month on a felony theft charge dating back to August 2012.

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