Sept. 17--JUPITER -- A trip to a convenience store Sunday morning ended with a 44-year-old man going to jail after police alleged he set its bathroom on fire while smoking drugs.
Booker T. Martin Jr. is accused of starting a fire at the Shell gas station at 6812 W. Indiantown Road. He is facing charges of arson, resisting an officer without violence, possession of drug paraphernalia and carrying a concealed weapon.
He remained in custody at the Palm Beach County Jail late Monday in lieu of $1,500 bond. The arrest report does not list a current address for Martin.
The incident happened shortly before 6 a.m. Sunday, police said. An employee told officers he was helping customers at the register when a man with whom he was familiar walked in and went back to the bathroom area. He identified the man as Martin.
The employee then stocked shelves before realizing that Martin had been in the bathroom for about 10 minutes. The employee said he smelled something burning and knocked on the door.
Moments later, Martin unlocked and opened the door and smoke began pouring out of the bathroom. The employee told officers that Martin had in his hand a metal tire pressure gauge with a burnt end.
Inside the bathroom, a garbage can and a paper dispenser were on fire. The employee grabbed a fire extinguisher and a bucket of water. Martin, saying nothing, stood in the smoke for a moment before walking to a cooler and picking up a can of the alcoholic beverage 4 Loko, police said.
Martin reportedly then walked to the counter, waited for a moment and then left.
Officers, familiar with Martin from past alleged crimes, found him walking down the driveway of a residence on Roosevelt Boulevard, near Kennedy Estates Park southeast of the Shell station. Upon seeing the officers, Martin allegedly turned and ran in between some houses.
The chase continued as an officer saw Martin going into the backyard of home on Booker T. Boulevard. An officer used a Taser to gain control over Martin and took him into custody.
The officer reported to fellow officers that Martin kept reaching for his left front pocket. Officers found a large gray box cutter knife in his possession, the report said.
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