ODESSA, Texas (KMID/KPEJ)- A transient man from Odessa was arrested earlier this week after investigators said he allegedly broke into a bar in search of food and set fire to the bar while he was inside. Sherman Merritt, 31, has been charged with Arson and Burglary. 

According to an affidavit, on September 27, officers with the Odessa Police Department were called to Location Lounge in the 4900 block of Golder Avenue to investigate a burglary in progress. When officers arrived on the scene, they saw three men outside the building who said they had an unknown man trapped inside. 

Officers entered the building and found Merritt, who reportedly stated that he broke in to search for food and water. While speaking with Merritt, officers said they could smell that something had recently burned inside the building- they found a smoldering pile of paper towels in a corner and fresh burn marks to the carpet and wood floor of the bar. Merritt admitted to police he started the fire to use as a light source while searching for something to eat.

The bar’s owner stated that she wasn’t sure Merritt was only looking for food- she reported that about $10,000 worth of speakers that had been there that morning were now missing. 

Merritt was arrested and taken to the Ector County Law Enforcement Center where he remained as of Thursday afternoon. His bond had not yet been set.