Kentucky police say man burglarized house, then set it on fire to cover his tracks

Published 1:28 pm Thursday, June 13, 2024

State police have arrested a Kentucky man they say broke into a burglarized a house and then set it on fire to cover up the evidence of the theft.

The structure fire was reported Sunday morning to the Kentucky State Police Post 11 London on Laurel River Church Road.

The Campground Fire Department responded to the location and located a single-family dwelling on fire. Evidence was discovered that the residence had been burglarized and the structure was set on fire.

Kentucky State Police officials were contacted, and a fire investigation was requested.

Trooper Steve Walker (Fire Investigator) responded to the scene along with Constable Robert Smith. During the investigation, it was determined that the suspects forced their way into the residence, disabled the alarm system and stole several items having a total value of over $10,000.

The structure was then set on fire to cover up the crime.

Trooper Walker and Constable Smith located many of the stolen items at the residence of a neighbor.

Laurel County Sheriff Deputy Skylar McFarland responded to the area to assist and located the suspect about 2/10 mile from his residence. The suspect, identified as Billy J. Swafford, 47, of London was charged with arson 1st degree, burglary 2nd degree and possession of burglar tools.

Swafford was lodged in the Laurel County Detention Center. Trooper Steve Walker is continuing the investigation.