WALKER — Authorities arrested the two sons of former Livingston Parish President Mike Grimmer on Saturday afternoon after they allegedly broke into a large metal storage container in Grimmer’s backyard and set fire to his wife’s property.
John Grimmer, 33, and Aaron Grimmer, 31, both of 13246 Pendarvis Lane, Walker, admitted to Walker police that they set the fire and were booked into the Livingston Parish Detention Center on one count each of simple arson and simple burglary.
Bail was set at $50,000 for John Grimmer and $40,000 for Aaron Grimmer, Livingston Parish sheriff’s spokesman Gene Higginbotham said. Both remained in custody as of late Saturday night.
John Grimmer also was booked with discharging a firearm within city limits after he allegedly used a .357 Magnum handgun to try to destroy the lock on the container, Capt. John Sharp with the Walker Police Department said.
Failing that, the brothers settled on a grinder to open the container’s lock and then set fire to the contents, investigators said.
“They were upset with his wife, who is not their mother because their mother is his first wife, and apparently they forced entry to this storage building and set fire to her property,” State Fire Marshal Butch Browning said.
The fire damaged furniture and other household items inside the container that belonged to Mike Grimmer’s wife.
Browning said he did not think Mike Grimmer knew about the plot his sons concocted to set his wife’s belongings on fire and they do not consider him a suspect.
“We don’t think he had anything to do with the fire,” Browning said.
Browning said that when firefighters with Fire Protection District 4 in Walker arrived at Mike Grimmer’s house at 13246 Pendarvis at 7:38 a.m., they found a metal storage container behind his house on fire.
Browning said that because no electrical power or other utilities were connected to the container, ruling out the possibility of an electrical fire, investigators concluded the crime of arson may have been committed.
After the fire was put out, Walker police returned to collect evidence and confronted the brothers, both of whom admitted setting the fire, Sharp said.
They said once they were inside the container, they pulled out a drawer in a filing cabinet and used a cigarette lighter to set paper inside the drawer on fire.
But something happened — Sharp said he was not sure if they had a change of heart or what changed — and they put the fire out with a hose.
Or so they thought.
Apparently, the brothers were not entirely successful at extinguishing the fire and it roared back and engulfed the container after they left.
Browning said there was no evidence that accelerant was used and the fire spread quickly, feeding off the wood and paper inside the container.
The investigation is ongoing, Sharp said.
Saturday’s incident came almost a month after Mike Grimmer was arrested and booked with misdemeanor domestic abuse battery on May 31 after an altercation with his wife.
Walker police received a call from Janet Grimmer, reporting a domestic disturbance at their Pendarvis Lane residence. When police arrived, they found broken items in the house and Janet Grimmer said her husband had forcibly removed her from a room.
Mike Grimmer did not deny the accusation and was determined to be the aggressor, police have said.
Mike Grimmer served two terms as Livingston Parish president beginning in 2004 before losing a bitter November 2011 election battle to current Parish President Layton Ricks.
Prior to that, Mike Grimmer had served as elected mayor of Walker from 1988 to 2004 after being named to fill the unexpired term of former Mayor Albert Pendarvis.