A homeless man has been arrested in connection with a fire that destroyed at least eight different storage units and damaged others at a Colorado self-storage company. His charges for the alleged property crimes include arson and criminal impersonation. The storage unit company has yet to release an estimate of the financial damages.
The 36-year-old man apparently did not have an actual residence, and instead had been living inside of a storage unit. According to police, the fire was sparked by a small kerosene fire that the man had lit in an attempt to get warm. Reportedly, he was unable to contain the fire after his own storage unit went up in flames.
Following an eyewitness tip that a man had been seen fleeing the storage unit fire, police eventually caught up with the suspect who, upon being detained, gave a false name to authorities. While the name matched the storage unit renter’s lease for the unit he had been living in, it contained military identification that was not his and had presumably been used without permission. This led police to pursue the criminal impersonation charge.
Colorado fire fighters are still investigating and have yet to issue a formal ruling on what led to the fire. In the meantime, police are still pursuing the fourth-degree arson charge and have expressed the possibility that it could even be raised to a second-degree charge due to the amount of damage involved. Although the results of the fire fighters’ investigation could possibly impact some of his property crimes charges, it is typically a good idea to begin defense preparations as early on in the criminal trial process as possible. While some circumstances might shift or change, a sturdy foundation can still as an invaluable tool during this time.
Source: gazette.com, “Man arrested on suspicion of Colorado Springs setting storage unit fire was trying to stay warm”, Kaitlin Durbin, Jan. 27, 2016