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CROWN POINT — A 35-year-old man is alleged to have thrown Molotov cocktails last week at a Merrillville house. 

Michael E. Howard Jr. is charged in Lake Criminal Court with attempted arson, three counts of criminal recklessness, invasion of privacy and criminal mischief. 

Merrillville police were dispatched at about 8:04 p.m. Tuesday to a home in the 300 block of West 56th Place after receiving reports of a small fire, according to a probable cause affidavit.  

Police found broken bottles stuffed with cloth and two small fires burning outside the residence. 

A third unbroken bottle was found in a flower pot underneath the home's broken living room window, the affidavit states. 

A resident told police she and her friend, Howard's ex-girlfriend, were seated in the living room when they heard glass shatter and an object hit the house, according to the affidavit. 

The resident said she and the friend looked out the window and saw Howard and a second unidentified person flee the scene, the affidavit states. 

The friend told police she was staying at the residence because of issues she had with Howard, against whom she had a protective order, according to the affidavit. 

Howard has prior felony convictions for strangulation and criminal recklessness.

He is not afforded bail in the case, according to court records. 


Courts and social justice reporter

Steve covers Lake County courts and social justice issues for The Times. The UW-Milwaukee graduate joined The Times in 2016 after reporting on criminal justice in New Mexico and Wisconsin.