Wisconsin Sheriff: Property Owners Can’t Burn Way Out of Debt

March 6, 2009

Dodge County’s sheriff is cautioning Wisconsin property owners with financial trouble not to resort to arson to solve their problems.

Sheriff Todd Nehls says he’s noticed a disturbing trend. Cars, houses or cabins are going up in smoke by owners who expect to receive a big insurance check. Instead, they end up behind bars.

The sheriff says his department has solved five suspicious fires in the last year and a-half. Nehl’s says in one case, a woman embezzled $80,000 from her employer, was behind on her mortgage and thought she could take care of both by torching her house.

Just this week, a Hayward tavern owner was found guilty of burning his business to collect more than $250,000 in insurance money. Philip Lathrop will be sentenced May 8. He once owned Player’s Sports Bar and Grill.

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