Arson suspected in drug house fire
A man is accused of starting a fire at a home after police raided it.
Drew T. Leopold, 21, Oshkosh, is charged in Waupaca County Circuit Court with arson and burglary.
On the morning of Aug. 27, 2015, Plover and Waupaca police executed a search warrant at a home on the 600 block of West Union Street in Waupaca.
Charles D. Hall, 31, was taken into custody.
His arrest was part of a 15-month investigation involving state and local law enforcement in three counties.
Investigators identified 32 drug dealers and tracked 7.5 kilograms of heroin sold in Portage, Wood and Waupaca counties between May 2014 and August 2015.
Hall was sentenced to 13 years in federal prison for distributing heroin on Aug. 31, 2016.
One day after the raid on Hall’s home on West Union Street, the house caught fire.
Shortly before 1 a.m. on Aug. 28, 2015, a Waupaca police officer was patrolling Union Street when he noticed that Hall’s empty house was burning.
Waupaca firefighters were called out to the scene.
They found the fire was most intense in a kitchen on the lower level of the tri-level home. The flames extended up the staircase and through an access opening into the attic.
The lower level and attic were the most severely damaged by flames.
There was smoke and water damage throughout the interior of the house, totalling $170,000.
Investigators determined that the fire had been set intentionally.
According to the criminal complaint, Leopold told investigators that he believed there may be drugs in the house, so he broke into the vacated house to find them.
After he failed to find any drugs or anything to sell to buy drugs, Leopold allegedly piled up some clothes in the lower level and set them on fire.
He opened a window to feed the flames, then fled the scene, police say.
Earlier this year, Leopold was arrested, questioned and charged with misdemeanor offenses of battery, disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property for an April 27 incident.
He is currently in custody on a $1,000 cash bond.