Man accused of going on bizarre crime spree in Norman

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NORMAN, Okla. - A man is accused of going on a crime spree, vandalizing several businesses and then setting an apartment building on fire.

Police said James Cox started throwing garbage cans and shopping baskets through storefront windows early in the morning, around 4 a.m. Surveillance video caught him smashing through windows at Ace Hardware, Supercuts and Sally Beauty Supply at the Alameda Shopping Center, and at the Harbor Freight and Arby’s nearby.

“Just literally there was a huge hole where he picked up the trash can and threw it in through the window,” said Supercuts manager Amber Newton. She was woken up by an employee that morning with the news.

“Everyone that had a trash can outside their window got their window smashed in,” Newton said. “Those are double-paned glass, so they’re very expensive to replace and they’re very thick.”

Later that morning, Cox also allegedly set a fire inside one of the Brookview Apartments on Chalmette Drive. The apartment belonged to his mother. Fire officials said he lit a pile of clothes on her mattress on fire.

With the help of the surveillance video, officers found Cox, who immediately admitted to setting the fire. According to the affidavit, Cox said, “I just set an apartment on fire is everyone ok?”

He also admitted to breaking the windows, and said he “was a danger to kids and everyone.”

“No indications of why he did it,” said Capt. Brent Barbour with the Norman Police Department. “It just sounds like it was completely random.”

Cox was arrested and charged with one count of arson and four counts of malicious injury to property over $1,000.

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