On July 24, the Evarts Police Department apprehended and charged three juveniles, who were allegedly involved in the arson of a unoccupied home belonging to Charlsie Mills, of South Carolina. One 16-year-old juvenile was charged with second-degree arson, a 13-year-old and a 12-year-old juvenile were both charged with conspiracy to commit arson. All three charges are felonies.
“On July 16, the Evarts Fire Department responded to a structure fire in the Middleton Addition of Evarts,” said Evarts Police Officer John Teagle. “Fire Chief Cledo Powers told me this fire was suspicious in nature, so we began an investigation. After a few days, our investigation led to the arrest of these three juveniles in connection to this alleged arson.”
Teagle said the 16-year-old juvenile was placed in a juvenile detention in Breathitt County the day following the fire on unrelated charges. The two other juveniles were charged through the Harlan County court designated worker and are awaiting notification.
“During my investigation, I found that the unoccupied structure, which had been boarded up, had been broken into,” said Powers. “I think possibly they used gasoline in the commission of this alleged crime. In this day and time, it’s so much easier to determine the cause of a fire.”
Teagle said prior to the fire on July 16, there were eight juveniles in the unoccupied home using the structure as a clubhouse sort of meeting place. He said all of those juveniles were charged with criminal trespassing and three were charged with criminal mischief due to an ax being used to damage doors in the home.
Teagle said later that night one of the juveniles got together with two other juveniles and made a plan to allegedly burn the home.
“We have had three suspicious fires in the Evarts area in the last three months,” said Teagle. “We’re still in the process of assisting the Harlan County Sheriff’s Office in the investigation of two cases, which remain open.”
Evarts Chief of Police Lupe Blas assisted in the investigation.
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510 or at email@example.com.