St. Louis Park man charged with arson

A St. Louis Park man is accused of calling police on neighbors he said were noisy, and then setting a fire outside their apartment door after police found his claim unfounded.

The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office charged Matthew Jay Vanopdorp, 33, Feb. 4 with attempted arson in the third degree, a felony charge with a maximum potential penalty of 2 1/2 years in prison and a fine of $5,000.

Third-degree arson relates to property damage of between $300 and $1,000.

A court document provides the following account of the allegations against Vanopdorp:

Police responded to a disturbance call Feb. 1 on the 8200 block of West 31st Street in St. Louis Park.

Vanopdorp, who police said appeared intoxicated, complained to police that the neighbors in an apartment directly above him were too noisy.

Officers deemed his claim was unfounded.

A few minutes later, officers were called back to the same apartment complex, where they found a paper bag on fire outside the door of the apartment above Vanopdorp.

Police handcuffed  and interviewed Vanopdorp, who claimed the noise level increased after he complained to police.

“Defendant admitted that, out of frustration and anger – and in an attempt to scare the occupants of the apartment directly above him – he placed a paper bag outside the apartment door and ignited it with a lighter,” a court document signed by St. Louis Park Police Officer Siar Nadem states.

Vanopdorp told police he had hoped his neighbors would see the fire, extinguish it and change their behavior, the court document reports.

“Defendant admitted that he knew the fire could have resulted in property damage, injury or death if it had not been discovered and extinguished,” the court complaint concludes.

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