September 19, 2013

Dresden man indicted on arson charges linked to May fire at home

STAFF REPORT

A Dresden man has been indicted on arson and theft charges in connection with a May fire that damaged his Middle Road home.

Robert Armstrong, 42, was indicted on two counts of arson and one count of theft, said Sgt. Kenneth Grimes, of the State Fire Marshal’s Office. It was unclear whether or not Armstrong had been taken into custody.

A Lincoln County Superior Court grand jury handed up the indictments last week. An indictment is not a determination of guilt, but it indicates that there is enough evidence to proceed with formal charges and a trial.

Armstrong was charged with theft because investigators think the fire was part of a scheme to collect insurance money, Grimes said.

Dresden Fire Chief Gerald Lilly said shortly after the blaze, reported the morning of May 7, that the single-story, ranch-style home at 729 Middle Road sustained significant smoke damage, but it was salvageable.

Grimes said Thursday that the investigation has been ongoing since the fire.

“Arson investigations, more frequently than not, take a fair amount of time to put together,” he said.

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