By Joe Beck
A Front Royal man was sentenced in Warren County Circuit Court on Tuesday to three years probation for arson and burglary charges stemming from a fire he started accidentally after dropping a piece of lighted cardboard.
Cody Robert Shuck, 20, of 509 Hupps Hill Court, Strasburg, was sentenced by Circuit Judge Dennis L. Hupp after a plea agreement in which the prosecution dropped a charge of grand larceny and amended the arson charge to a misdemeanor. Shuck's first two years of probation will be supervised.
Shuck and two other defendants, Brittany Renee Kines, 20, of Forest Hill Road, Front Royal, and Joseph Andrews, 18, of Front Royal, were arrested about a year ago after a fire at a residence at 5795 Strasburg Road.
Authorities accused the three of stealing several items from the unoccupied home that the victim had been using as a storage structure.
Deputies responding to a call from a neighbor of the victim's home said they arrived to find three small fires burning inside and an inside door kicked in.
Sheriff's Office deputies tracked down the three defendants, who said one or more of them dropped a piece of lighted cardboard that they were using to find their way through the darkened house.
Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Bryan Layton said in an interview that Shuck cooperated with authorities during the investigation. Damage from the fire was minimal, Layton said.
"They did damage, but it's not like they burned the house down," Layton said. "Not even close."
The outcome of the cases against Kines and Andrews are still pending, Layton said.
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or email@example.com