TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - While investigating a series of burglaries, authorities arrested a Terre Haute man in connection with a three-year-old arson case.
Police first responded to a home in the 1300 block of Grand Avenue to investigate reports of a series of burglaries.
Officers were allowed into the home and entered the bedroom of 22-year-old Ariel Childeress who was inside the room at the time. Police said Childeress fled out a window in the room but was met by officers waiting outside.
In Childeress's room, police reported finding items stolen during five separate burglaries. Among those items: big-screen televisions, computers, DVD players, cash and swords. Officials said some of those items have already been returned to their owners.
Childeress told police he did not commit the burglaries themselves.
Investigators also found that Childeress and another man had been listed as suspects in a 2009 arson that destroyed a vacant home on the 1900 block of North 9 th Street. At the time, investigators had interviewed the other suspect but were unable to make an arrest in the case.
While speaking with investigators Wednesday, Childeress told them he and the other suspect had been drinking the night of the arson and stopped near the vacant home to smoke a cigarette. Childeress reportedly told police the two men looked in the vacant home and dropped a cigarette on a pile of leaves near the home.
When the leaves caught fire, the two began adding more and more leaves and building the fire, which eventually caught the home on fire, Childeress reportedly told investigators.
Speaking in court Thursday, Childeress said the other man started the fire, not him.
Childeress faces a series of preliminary felony charges including one count of Arson and five counts of Receiving Stolen Property. Childeress is being held in the Vigo County Jail on a $15,000 cash bond.
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