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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Arkansas
Jonathan D. Ross, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Thursday, November 3, 2022

North Little Rock Man Indicted for Arson

Defendant Allegedly Set 13 Separate Fires in Central Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK— A North Little Rock man was indicted yesterday for setting fire to a local restaurant. Nathan James Hester, 37, was charged by a grand jury in a one-count indictment after an investigation revealed his attempt to set fire to Jim’s Razorback Pizza and his alleged involvement in 12 other fires.

Beginning in late September of this year, a series of approximately 13 fire events took place in the Oak Grove community of Pulaski County and extended into the neighboring city of Maumelle. These fires involved several homes, both occupied and unoccupied, including Hester’s mother’s residence; a church; and the pizza restaurant named in the indictment against Hester.

A complaint filed in federal court on October 25, 2022, alleged that on October 20, 2022, the manager of Jim’s Razorback Pizza in Maumelle was at work that morning when he smelled smoke. The manager walked outside to see the back wall was on fire. The initial investigation cites coals placed against the building as the source of ignition. Security video indicated a man wearing a head covering walking behind the building at the time the fire began. A witness identified the man in the video as Hester, and another witness reported seeing Hester nearby the scene around the time of the incident.

The case is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Maumelle Fire Department; Maumelle Police Department; Oak Grove Fire Department; and the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Erin O’Leary.

An indictment only contains allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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