When he was apprehended by federal authorities Wednesday, Raymond Bellavance Jr. was living in a tent in the woods of rural South Carolina while working on a roof repair job at a local elderly housing complex.

Those were among the new details disclosed Thursday by the U.S. Marshals Service, whose agents tracked down the Augusta man wanted in connection with the fire that destroyed the Grand View Topless Coffee Shop in Vassalboro last June.

Bellavance, 49, is being held at the Spartanburg County Detention Center in Spartanburg, S.C. He was arraigned Thursday on a fugitive from justice charge and will be extradited to Maine, according to Kennebec County District Attorney Evert Fowle.

Bellavance’s capture came a month after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Bellavance was in the Kennebec County Jail in Augusta on an unrelated charge of not paying a fine and was released April 2. Authorities received judicial permission to arrest Bellavance on the Grand View arson charge 24 hours later, but they couldn’t find him in the Augusta area.

Sgt. Ken Grimes of the Fire Marshal’s Office said investigators received several tips that Bellavance was in places other than Maine, but none panned out until this week.


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