Crime & Courts

Man went from throwing rocks to Molotov cocktail at ex-girlfriend’s home, SC cops say

Devin Ross Spinelli was arrested for throwing an explosive device at his ex-girlfriend's residence.
Devin Ross Spinelli was arrested for throwing an explosive device at his ex-girlfriend's residence. Al Cannon Detention Center

A South Carolina man was arrested early Monday morning after he threw a Molotov cocktail at his ex-girlfriend’s home, the Charleston Police Department said.

The man identified in a police report as Devin Ross Spinelli, 32, is facing multiple charges for throwing an explosive device at his ex’s apartment.

Officers responded to the woman’s apartment after midnight, and found evidence that something had burned the exterior beneath a window, along with the smell of gasoline, according to the incident report.

According to the report, the woman told police she “heard something hit the front of the house and then immediately saw a fire outside of the front window.” She suspected her ex-boyfriend, Spinelli, was responsible for starting the fire that was put out by a friend of hers who had a fire extinguisher, police said in the report.

The woman also told the officers that in a previous incident she believed Spinelli threw rocks through her front windows, but after calling police “refused to prosecute at that time,” according to the incident report.

She also told police that Spinelli displayed “violent tendencies in the past toward her to include assault and destruction of her property,” according to the incident report.

Court records show the woman “had just broken up with Spinelli, telling him she needed space,” WCSC reported.

The officer noticed a gray Jeep Patriot driving down the road similar to the vehicle driven by Spinelli, according to the woman’s description, police said in the report. The officer approached and made contact with the driver, who was wearing purple medical gloves, and eventually identified himself as Spinelli, according to the report.

After detaining Spinelli outside of the Jeep, the officer looked through a window and saw more of the purple gloves, a lighter and a water bottle “containing a yellowish in color liquid which was consistent with the appearance of gasoline,” police said in the report.

Evidence was found in a search of the Jeep that connected Spinelli to the arson at the woman’s apartment, police said.

After speaking with detectives, Spinelli was taken to the Al Cannon Detention Center, according to the incident report.

The Charleston man was charged with second-degree arson, possession of fire starting article, and possession/use of destructive explosive device causing injury damage or death, jail records show. Spinelli remains behind bars after his bond was set at $250,000 on the combined charges, according to jail records.

The police report identified Spinelli as an employee of popular restaurant 39 Rue De Jean, but a spokesperson for the restaurant told The State he had not worked there since March 2017.

According to Spinelli’s LinkedIn profile, in addition to 39 Rue De Jean, he has worked at The Brick, Coast Bar & Grill and Folly Beach Shrimp Company, among other Lowcountry restaurants.

Police in Walhalla, South Carolina, are searching for a suspect who appears on surveillance video to use mason jars filled an accelerate, or Molotov cocktails, to set fire to the Oconee County DSS building.

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Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.

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