By Joe Beck
A man and woman were indicted as co-defendants Monday in Warren County Circuit Court on charges of arson and grand larceny in a case that also involved a burglary at an unoccupied home on Strasburg Road.
Authorities accuse Cody Robert Shuck, 20, of 509 Hupps Hill Court, Strasburg, and Brittany Renee Kines, 20, of Forest Hill Road, Front Royal, of stealing stereo equipment worth more than $1,000 from the house. Shuck is also facing a charge of burglary.
A 17-year-old male, who authorities say was with Shuck and Kines during the crime, is also facing charges in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
In an interview Thursday, Investigator William Smoot of the Warren County Sheriff's Office said deputies answered a call on Aug. 18 from a neighbor of a residence at 5795 Strasburg Road. The caller reported hearing breaking glass at the residence.
Deputies arriving at the scene saw smoke coming out of the house and entered the building after calling firefighters. The deputies discovered three small fires burning inside that appeared to have been set. Smoot said they also found a back door to the residence had been kicked in.
Smoot said the three defendants had all left the residence before law enforcement officers arrived. A witness gave investigators a description of a station wagon linked to the suspects, according to Smoot. Investigators found the vehicle five houses away with some items inside that they identified as being from the burglarized residence, he said.
Authorities tracked the juvenile down at his home and found Kines and Shuck walking down the street in Strasburg, Smoot said.
"I spoke to all three individuals who admitted going to the residence and stealing several items from the residence," Smoot said.
Smoot said Shuck and the juvenile told him they were carrying lighted pieces of cardboard to see where they were going in the darkened house.
"What happened was they dropped the cardboard because it got so hot in their hands," Smoot said.
The cardboard started burning on the floor and forced one of the defendants to break out a window to escape the smoke that was starting to fill the house, he said.
Smoot estimated damage to the house to be at least $3,000.
Smoot said the victim, Danny Sealock, had been using the home for storage.
A search warrant executed at Shuck's home turned up a military uniform with Sealock's name in the collar and a mirror belonging to him, Smoot said.
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or firstname.lastname@example.org