Man charged with arson faces up to 30 years if convicted
BELFAST —- Details into the arrest of a man suspected of three separate cases of arson were presented in a Dec. 30 affidavit in support of probable cause, submitted by Larry Morrill, a law enforcement officer for the Office of Maine State Fire Marshal.
Derek Creasy, 38, of Unity, has been charged with two counts of arson and one count of attempted murder following the fires, which occurred in December 2020. All three are Class A crimes punishable by up to 30 years in prison and/or fines of up to $50,000.
Creasy is scheduled to appear in court for a dispositional conference Feb. 9.
Morrill’s affidavit begins with the first incident, an attempted arson that took place Dec. 22.
According to the affidavit, a set of footprints were located Dec. 22, while investigators, including Morrill, were on Turner Court in Unity investigating what appeared to be an intentionally started fire, though the fire did not actually “take off.”
The residence where the attempted arson took place was occupied by a man who had been asleep in his mobile home by himself, having reportedly gone to bed at 10:30 p.m., Dec. 21, the document said.
The man stated that when his sister left for work around 4:45 a.m. she saw a single set of footprints going into his driveway. Another family member reportedly noticed a single pair of tracks entering and exiting the property when he left for work around 6:30 a.m., according to the affidavit.
The man was reportedly awoken later by his brother-in-law, who had gone to investigate the reported footprints, and ultimately discovered someone had tried to set the right corner of the mobile home on fire.
The man told investigators that he knew Creasy, and had filed a complaint against him in January 2020 with the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office, alleging a theft of $10,700. Creasy had ultimately agreed to a deferred disposition to pay the man back, the report said.
Damage to the trailer was estimated to be $500.
Police observed footprints in the fresh coat of snow coming and going down Turner Circle and toward Bangor Road, noting that after further investigation it appeared the individual in question had approached from a cannabis shop. With the owner’s permission, police reviewed security footage from the area.
That footage reportedly showed a vehicle drive into the business yard and park, with someone exiting, then returning to the vehicle. The vehicle was reportedly parked from roughly 5 a.m. through 5:22 a.m., according to the affidavit. While the video footage was noted to be of poor quality, it was forwarded to the FBI for video enhancement.
Casts of the tire marks and footprints were also taken from the scene.
On Dec. 22, Investigator Jeremy Damren used his ATF Accelerant Detection K-9 to scan the area for attempted arson. The K-9 alerted on the presence of accelerant in the fire debris that was collected to send to the MSP Crime Lab for confirmation.
Investigators returned to Turner Court in Unity on Dec. 26, after a house fire had been reported at 6:34 p.m.
The resident reported that he had been outside in his vehicle next to the right rear of his mobile home, keeping an eye out on his property, but had fallen asleep.
He reportedly woke up to the sensation of heat on the back of his neck and discovered his trailer on fire behind him.
He later discovered that three tires had been flattened on the rear of his truck.
Another ATF Accelerant Detection K-9 was brought to the scene, where it alerted investigators of two bottles, which appeared to be fuel stabilizer, according to the affidavit.
Given the totality of circumstances, including the slashed tires, the fire was determined to be incendiary. The mobile home sustained significant damage during the fire, rendering it uninhabitable.
A third fire, this time at Unity United Methodist Church, was reported Dec. 28 around 6 p.m. The caller reported seeing fire in the basement at the rear of the building. Unity Fire Department responded to the scene and extinguished the fire.
During the investigation of the church, which had not held a service since the onset of COVID-19, officers determined that a cement concrete block had been used to break a rear basement window in the church. The fire had been started in the basement.
DNA swabs were taken from the window, which appeared to have been moved by the suspected arsonist.
With evidence collected at the fire scenes, police issued a search warrant of the home where Derek Creasy was residing on Dec. 30.
There, police seized more evidence.
Derek Creasy was released on $50,000 cash bail Dec. 31, with conditions of release including stipulations not to have any contact with the nine people involved in the case.
Creasy is also currently on house arrest, though that condition is reviewable upon the appointment of counsel, according to court documents.
Stephen C. Smith, of Augusta, has been designated as Creasy’s court-appointed lawyer, though that appointment is subject to Creasy meeting with a financial screener.
Erica Thoms can be reached at email@example.com
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