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Man a no-show for sentencing in Middletown arson

A warrant has been issued for a Middletown man who didn’t appear in court today for a scheduled sentencing for setting fire to his apartment in June.

Bradley Bell, 23, formerly of Curtis Street, pleaded guilty last month to arson, a fourth-degree felony, for starting the fire in a second-floor apartment in the 200 block of Curtis Street. He was scheduled to be sentenced this morning by Butler County Common Pleas Judge Greg Howard, but he failed to appear, according to court records. A bench warrant was issued for his arrest.

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Bell faced up to an 18-month sentence.

According to Middletown police, Bell got into an argument with his girlfriend, and she left around 3 a.m. on June 1. Less than two hours later, Bell used matches and ashes to start a fire in the apartment. Damages were estimated at $100,000.

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The Middletown Fire Task Force investigated the fire, and after interviews, it arrested Bell near Franklin Twp. A 3-year-old girl living in the apartment wasn’t at home when the fire started.

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