Serial arsonist sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for Brown County fires

James Ambrosius is charged with causing fires in Brown County
James Ambrosius is charged with causing fires in Brown County(Brown County Jail)
Published: Jul. 14, 2022 at 4:09 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A Hobart man who prosecutors say confessed to setting 8 fires in Brown County since 2018 was sentenced by a federal judge to 15 years in prison.

James Ambrosius, 25, was accused of setting fires at farms and businesses. He was convicted on three counts of arson, and Judge William Griesbach sentenced him to 180 months in prison on each count -- but the sentences will run concurrently.

Ambrosius was arrested last year after a fire at his workplace, Dedicated Repair. State charges were dropped as federal prosecutors picked up the case, but a criminal complaint filed by the Brown County district attorney described Ambrosius under questioning, alternating between denying involvement in the fires, saying they were an accident, and describing in detail how he set them.

In the Dedicated Repair fire, he admitted taking money to pay a drug debt. He said the fire started when he plugged a battery pack into an electrical outlet but later admitted setting the fire using a propane torch and a box of latex gloves to cover up the burglary.

After denying he caused a fire inside a truck at the repair shop four months earlier, he said the truck was covered in dog hair, which he found “gross,” so he set a pile of hair on fire in a vent. He said it took some effort to keep the fire going.

Ambrosius also admitted to setting fires at a restaurant and three farms. He said he set one barn fire, which killed cattle, because he didn’t like the kids there, and he set another barn fire because the owner owed him money. He also admitted to lighting some hay on fire inside a vacant barn; he didn’t know if it continued to burn after he left, but he passed by a few days later and noticed the barn was down.

Brown County prosecutors dismissed the eight state arson charges against Ambrosius without prejudice in March.

Copyright 2022 WBAY. All rights reserved.