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Man arrested in arson case after stakeout

Dec 5, 2012 - By Christina George, Staff Writer

A man was apprehended after a lengthy stakeout Tuesday evening at a Lander residence. Police said they think the man is connected to an arson that occurred earlier that day.

Multiple law enforcement agencies assisted in the case on site, including the Riverton Police Department.

Police chief Jim Carey said Chance James Moore, 20, of Lander, was taken into custody around 5 p.m. Tuesday after a felony probation warrant was issued. Carey said the warrant related to a Nov. 29 shoplifting incident at the Lander Maverik Country Store that involved more than $1,000 in stolen cigarettes.

Moore also is on probation for a 2011 aggravated assault and battery and interfering with a police officer after he wielded a knife at an undercover officer while in the company of a girl who had been reported missing.

Tuesday's law enforcement response to the 900 block of Washakie Street stemmed from the arson and Moore's alleged threat with a weapon.

Police think Moore was involved in a fire that was reported by a jogger at 5:03 a.m. Tuesday at 1440 Goodrich Drive near Lander City Park.

Lander Volunteer Fire Department administrator Nick Hudson said the two-story house is unoccupied and for sale.

He said in addition to the 20 volunteer firefighters who responded to the call, Fremont County fire investigator Dan Oakley, Rawlins fireman John Rutherford and his certified arson dog, and an investigator from the Wyoming State Marshal's Office were on scene.

Hudson said the dog didn't detect an accelerator at the fire site. The blaze started in the kitchen and staircase areas.

"It was intentionally set, and we had evidence to believe that Chance James Moore set the fire," Carey said.

Carey said a second suspect has been identified but an arrest warrant is pending further investigation.

"Evidence obtained from the scene was critical in solving this case," he added.

Police were already looking for Moore for the shoplifting incident, and Carey said the search intensified after police received "credible information" Monday night that Moore made a threat "of burning something up."

After fire investigators confirmed the early morning blaze was intentional and Moore was named a suspect, Carey said police "amped up" the search.

Their investigation led them to an apartment unit in a complex in the 900 block of Washakie Street where police thought Moore was. Carey declined to say who lives in the apartment but confirmed it wasn't Moore's residence.

Carey said while conducting surveillance in the area where Moore was believed to be, police received information Moore was armed with a semi-automatic rifle and making threats to use the weapon toward people involved in the investigation.

From there, Carey said additional officers were called in, a perimeter was set up and citizens in nearby residences were evacuated. Several street intersections near the apartment complex were closed to traffic.

In an attempt to communicate with Moore, Carey said officers broke a window at the apartment and threw in a phone.

Eventually, police approached the front door with a public address system to communicate with Moore.

Carey said Moore exited the residence carrying a hatchet. Police confronted him at gunpoint, and Carey said Moore immediately dropped the weapon and complied with commands.

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