Accused arsonist wanted to make a quick buck, cops say. He could go to prison for life

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A Michigan homeowner wanting to make a quick buck set three fires in his house and then tried filing an insurance claim, according to authorities in Michigan.

Now, the 42-year-old Plymouth man faces life in prison.

A jury in Wayne County’s Third Circuit Court found the man guilty of one count of arson of an insured dwelling and one count of second-degree arson, according to an Oct. 2 news release from the Michigan Department of Attorney General. The first charge carries a potential life sentence, and the other is a 20-year felony.

Authorities with the Plymouth Township Police and Fire Departments responded to the house early Jan. 1, 2019, after a neighbor reported a fire, according to the release.

An investigation by several departments, including the Michigan State Police Arson investigators, found that the fire was arson-related, authorities said.

This was determined by three reasons, according to the release.

  • The fire started in three unconnected areas of the home: a master bedroom, a basement storage room and at the top of the basement stairs in a common hall.

  • Gasoline was found throughout the man’s home.

  • No natural fire causes were found inside the house.

The man’s truck was also parked at the home less than two hours before a neighbor reported the fire, officials said.

“Every arson represents another instance where our firefighters and first responders risk their lives to protect public safety, and that’s an unacceptable danger to our communities,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in the release.

The man’s sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 17. In addition to facing time in prison, authorities said “each count may also incur a fine of $20,000 or three times the value of the property, whichever is greater.”

Plymouth is part of the Detroit metropolitan area.

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