YORK COUNTY, Penn. – A former York County volunteer firefighter has been sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay court costs after pleading guilty to filing a false or fraudulent insurance claim as part of an attempt to get an insurance payout by setting his SUV on fire.
Sean Christopher Roth, of Red Lion, plead guilty on Wednesday, court documents show.
He was charged after an August 29, 2018 incident in Windsor Township.
On that day at about 2:35 p.m., police responded to the area of the 200 block of Cobblestone Court in Red Lion for a reported vehicle on fire.
The fire had been reported by Roth, who was the owner of the 2016 Ford Escape that caught fire.
Officials spoke with Roth who said that the check engine light had come on and the vehicle was "not acting right."
He said that he got in the vehicle again prior to the fire and drove to his home, where he claimed the vehicle caught on fire.
It was later discovered that Roth had removed all his possessions from the vehicle before it caught fire.
On August 31, 2018, police found that the point of origin of the fire was determined to be the center of the dash, where most of the damage had occurred.
Police contacted State Farm Insurance Company, and found that Roth had reported the fire and did initiate an insurance claim.
On October 26, 2018, police interviewed Roth's girlfriend, who denied having knowledge of the fire but did admit to helping him to clean out the car prior to the incident.
Later that day, police spoke with Roth, who eventually admitted to setting the fire.
He told police that he used paper and placed it up inside the dash from the bottom and lit it on fire with a butane lighter after he had cleaned the vehicle out.
Roth told police that he then went inside his apartment and the fire spread throughout the vehicle.
Roth was a volunteer with the Leo Independent Engine Fire Company No. 1. According to the fire company's Facebook page, he has been placed on a leave of absence and has been relieved of all duties.
Roth was placed on a leave of absence by the Fire Chiefs’ and Firefighters’ Association of York County, as well. Roth was an instructor, often teaching courses at the York County Fire School.