A Houghton Lake man was sentenced on Tuesday June 5, 2012 on felony charges that he intentionally set multiple wildland fires in Roscommon County on three separate dates. Howard LeRoy, 71, of Houghton Lake, was sentenced in 34th Circuit Court in Roscommon. LeRoy entered guilty pleas on two counts of felony arson on Feb 16, 2012.
LeRoy was sentence to one year in jail, followed by 24 months probation, $648.00 fines and costs, and he was ordered to pay a total of over $13,000 in restitution.
The charges stemmed from an investigation initiated by Department of Natural Resources forest fire officers when they noted a trend in certain areas of unexplained, suspicious fires. The fire officers collaborated with DNR conservation officers on the investigation over the last several years, sharing information, collecting evidence and conducting interviews. Detectives from the DNR’s Special Investigations Unit conducted interviews and followed up on many leads. LeRoy was originally charged with setting seven fires in Roscommon County.
“Collaboration between divisions, in these times of limited manpower and resources, is vital to the successful conclusion of complicated cases,” said DNR Law Enforcement Division Chief Gary Hagler.
“Arson, whether to residential property or wooded land, has extreme costs to the people of this state,” said Scott Heather, DNR state forest fire supervisor in the Forest Management Division. “Costs in timber and habitat damage and suppressing the fires, along with the potential for the public or firefighters to be injured, are reasons to fully investigate and prosecute these offenses.”
Persons with information of any natural resources violations can call the Report All Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800. Arson in Michigan can be reported to the Arson Tip Line at 800-44-ARSON. Tipsters may be eligible for rewards if an arrest or conviction occurs.