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Woman charged in arson at Martinsburg duplex

April 30, 2010|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD
  • Falon Sue Mauck
West Virginia Regional Jail & Correctional Facility Authority,

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. --A 25-year-old woman was arraigned Friday in connection with an April 24 fire that was deliberately set in a vacant duplex at 910 Central Ave. in Martinsburg, according to Berkeley County Magistrate Court records.

Falon Sue Mauck, of no fixed address, was charged by Martinsburg Police with first-degree arson, burglary, destruction of property and petit larceny, according to court records.

Mauck on Friday was in Eastern Regional Jail on a $115,000 bond set by Magistrate Sandra L. Miller, according to court and jail records.

Joshua Daniel Stevens, 30, has been charged in the same fire. He remained at large Friday, and police have asked the community for help in finding him.

Stevens is charged with first-degree arson, burglary, grand larceny, petit larceny and destruction of property.

Mauck and Stevens are accused of setting a fire in a clothes dryer with items stolen from a Martinsburg Police Department cruiser near Moler Avenue, according to court records.

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The fire went out by itself, but not before causing about $10,000 in smoke damage and destroying the dryer, according to Lt. Greg Hoover, the Martinsburg Fire Department's chief fire investigator.

Police found a metal clipboard, traffic citations and other police forms in the dryer that came from a cruiser assigned to Sgt. Brian Yost, according to court records.

Mauck said Stevens allegedly used a lighter to ignite in the dryer the items that he took from the police cruiser and that she left the residence before him, according to court records.

Mauck, in a statement to police Tuesday, said she was with Stevens when he allegedly broke the window out of Yost's cruiser and when he removed personal property from the vehicle, including a duffle bag, paperwork and a clipboard, according to court records.

Mauck said she went with Stevens to the Central Avenue home, where he allegedly broke liquor bottles and caused damage to a door after breaking into the duplex through a rear glass door, according to court records.

Neighboring residents told police they noticed the door damage at about 7:30 a.m. on April 24, but mistakenly thought the door was open rather than broken out, according to court records

Police said the cost of the broken window in the cruiser was $150 and the value of the contents of the stolen duffle bag was $50.

Yost told an officer investigating the damage that the cruiser had been parked at an apartment complex off Moler Avenue since about 12:30 a.m. on April 24, according to court records.

Mauck's arrest comes little more than a month after she and Stevens were charged with multiple felony counts of unauthorized use of a credit card, according to court records.

That case is pending in Berkeley County Magistrate Court, records show.

Police on Friday said they had no further information to release regarding 12 other fires that have been intentionally set in Martinsburg this year.

Martinsburg Police Detective G.B. Swartwood said this week that investigators believe more than one arsonist is responsible for the fires that have occurred in a relatively concentrated area in the downtown Martinsburg area.

Police did not indicate whether they believe Mauck or Stevens was involved in those incidents.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Stevens or any of the arson cases may contact the Martinsburg Police Department at 304-264-2100 or Berkeley County Crime Solvers at 304-267-4999.

A reward of as much as $2,500 for information leading to an arrest in the arson cases is being offered through the West Virginia Arson Hotline and as much as $1,000 is being offered by Crime Solvers, officials have said.

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