Arson suspect claims God told him to burn down Heights taxidermy shop

HOUSTON – The man charged in connection with a bizarre fire at a taxidermy shop in the Heights neighborhood of Houston said God told him to burn down the store.

Jonathan Jindra is charged with arson in connection with Friday’s fire at the Wilde Collection at the corner of Yale and West 15th streets.

Investigators said a man walked into the front entrance of the store, poured two cans of gasoline on the floor and set it on fire. The man fled the scene and was tackled by a bystander and an off-duty police officer who was in the area. The man, who was later identified by authorities as Jindra, was held by the pair until authorities arrived.

According to prosecutors, Jindra told detectives during an interview that God spoke to him on Halloween and said he needed to burn the store. He said the next day, he purchased two gas cans, filled them up, drank a couple of beers to calm his nerves and then went to the store. He admitted to pouring the gasoline on the floor, lighting rolled up socks on fire and throwing them into the gasoline before leaving, according to prosecutors.

Jindra said his ex-girlfriend works at the store, and he had warned the store owners several times to change things, according to prosecutors. He said the fire wasn’t personal and that he was trying to fulfill the biblical Book of Revelations, according to prosecutors.

At a hearing Saturday morning, Jindra said he wants to represent himself and requested to be held in jail without bail.

“I have so much to prove,” Jindra told the judge. “I’m a prophet, trust me.”

The judge set Jindra’s bond at $50,000.

No one was seriously injured in the fire, but a cat was killed. 

The business sustained about $120,000 in damage, firefighters said.

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