Current, former owners facing arson charges in Janesville trailer fire

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Jim Leute
Friday, June 21, 2013

— The former owner and the current owner of a Janesville mobile home that burned this week now share an address: the Rock County Jail.

Janesville police arrested David G. Pacheco and Whitney L. Stricklin on arson-related charges Wednesday, alleging the two planned Tuesday's mobile home fire for financial gain.

Police arrested Pacheco, the former owner of the mobile home at 1548 Swallow Lane, on an arson charge. Police list the address of the 51-year-old as 1015 S. Academy St.

Stricklin, the current owner of the mobile home, faces a charge of party to arson.

Firefighters were dispatched at 4:21 a.m. Tuesday to the Swallow Lane mobile home in the Jacob Woodland Heights Mobile Home Park. Stricklin, 26, reported to a dispatcher at the time that she thought someone might have set the fire on purpose.

The home, valued at $4,400, is considered a total loss. Damage to contents is estimated at $2,000, according to the fire report.

From several pieces of physical evidence and witness statements, Detective Mark Johnson was able to determine Pacheco and Stricklin planned the arson for financial gain, Janesville Police Lt.

Keith Lawver said.

Investigators determined the fire started in two locations, each a pile of clothing. They also found inconsistencies in the statements of Pacheco and Stricklin, who brokered the mobile home deal earlier this month, Lawver said.

Pacheco was at the fire scene early Tuesday morning and told a Gazette reporter that someone called him to report that the trailer was on fire.

“That's his version,” Lawver said. “We think he was there as a result of setting the fire.”

Lawver believes the mobile home recently was covered by a $30,000 insurance policy. He said he is uncertain of any other relationship between Pacheco and Stricklin other than buyer and seller.

Stricklin and her two children were not home at the time of the fire, but the family's dog and cat were killed.

Lawver said the Rock County District Attorney's Office would determine final charges, including whether any charges will stem from the deaths of the pets.

Last updated: 7:50 am Monday, July 29, 2013

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