LeClaire Couple Convicted of Burning Own Home

January 23, 2008

A LeClaire, Iowa couple who were about to lose their house were convicted of burning the home and filing an insurance claim to recover their losses.

Lawrence and Patricia Atwood were found guilty of second-degree arson and insurance fraud in Scott County District Court. They face up to 15 years in prison.

The Atwoods’ home was destroyed in a blaze on March 5, 2006.

The house was foreclosed upon in December, and the couple was told last February they would likely be evicted. A week later, the home was destroyed.

James Thiele, a former investigator from the state fire marshal’s office, testified that an accelerant was used to set the fire.

Investigators found personal items stored in the Atwood’s shed and a vehicle, including an overnight bag, two pairs of slippers, medication, family photos, a coin collection and a jewelry chest.

The Atwoods filed an insurance claim for approximately $17,000 in household items. The insurance policy on the home ran out at midnight the day of the fire.

Information from: Quad-City Times, http://www.qctimes.com

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