Caldwell County man tried to burn 2 alive, officials say

May. 30, 2013 @ 09:14 PM

The Caldwell County Sheriff's Office was searching Thursday for a man accused of covering a woman's car in gasoline and setting it on fire while she was inside.

Cloyd Wayne Burns of Burns Road in Granite Falls is charged with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and burning of personal property.

Louann McFalls, 42, who is listed in a sheriff's office report as an acquaintance of Burns, came home after 2 p.m. Wednesday to find someone had broken into her home. She believed Burns was responsible, so she went with another person to Burns' home to confront him, Charlotte TV station WBTV reported.

That led to an argument and then to Burns throwing a rock through the windshield of the Ford Explorer she was in and pouring gas on the vehicle while she and the other person were still insideof it. Burns struck a match and threw it into the vehicle, but both people were able to get out.

The Caldwell County Sheriff's Office did not return phone calls by the News-Topic on Thursday about the incident.

Taft David McFalls, 49, owned the Ford Explorer, which suffered an estimated $3,500 in damage, according to a report by the sheriff's office.

Burns has a lengthy criminal record, including convictions on charges of breaking and entering, larceny, DWI, selling and trafficking drugs, assault on a female, and hit and run, according to the N.C. Department of Correction.

The sheriff's office has posted Burns' mug shot on its Facebook page several times for separate incidents in recent months, and each time a number of people have posted comments about his previous offenses, including after the sheriff's office posted Burns' mug shot on Wednesday and asked for help finding him.

One of them, Tim Gilbert, said in an interview Thursday that he's a distant cousin of Burns but has known him only since July. He said that Burns stole a pistol from the head of Gilbert's bed after a party, and that Burns has a reputation for trouble.

“Somebody like that is like a ticking time bomb," Gilbert said. "You don't know what they're going to do."

Also among the comments on the sheriff's office Facebook post were questions about why Burns was released from jail after being arrested March 22 on charges of felony larceny and felony interfering with a monitoring device, a house-arrest monitoring bracelet.

"Unfortunately, our officers arrest him and the court system sets the bail," the sheriff's office responded on the site. "We have no choice but to let him out if he meets the bail that the court system sets for him."

Anyone with information on Burns' whereabouts is asked to contact the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office at 828-758-2324 or Lenoir/Caldwell County Crime Stoppers at 828-758-8300.