Wise County

2 People Found Guilty of Arson After Boat Fire in Wise County

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NBC News

Two people were found guilty of arson after a boat was set on fire in Wise County, officials said.

Game wardens discovered that the fire was a part of the boat owner's attempt to fraudulently receive insurance money, officials said.

In December 2017, a Wise County game warden received a call about a boat on fire near a rural road away from any lakes, Texas Parks and Wildlife officials said.

Firefighters put the fire out and game wardens found the boat owner was from Kaufman County. Firefighters and a Palo Pino County investigator believed the fire was intentionally set with a fire accelerator, officials said.

The warden contacted the owner and was "met with hostility," officials said.

The game warden contacted the insurance company and the claim was flagged as suspicious.

The game warden obtained security camera video from several gas stations and saw a SUV pulling the boat about 20 minutes before the fire was reported.

The game warden located the possible suspect, who later admitted to setting the boat on fire to help his friend collect insurance money, Texas Parks and Wildlife officials said.

The boat owner talked with the insurance fraud unit, but the owner never admitted to how the boat ended up where it did. Later in January 2019, the owner confessed to his part in the case. He bought the boat for $38,500 and had it insured for $60,000.

In 2020, both of the individuals pleaded guilty to arson and received 10 years of deferred adjudication and a $2,500 fine.

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