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Corydon man charged with arson

A Corydon man was arrested last month for arson with injury, a level three felony.
According to the affidavit compiled by John Hartman of the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Harrison Township Volunteer Fire Dept. was dispatched to 325 Harrison-Heth Road SE south of Corydon on July 13 regarding a single-wide trailer fire. Upon arrival, the fire department discovered the trailer to be on fire and requested assistance from Heth and Boone Township Volunteer Fire departments. The trailer’s owners, Bruce and Stephanie Todd, were contacted and made aware of the fire. The Todds later advised police that Jarrod Kiper, 40, Corydon, had been at their residence before they left for Salem. They advised that Kiper was no longer welcome because of his drug problems.
‘(The Todds) advised Jarrod was asking them for money or any work he could do for money the day of the fire when they told him to leave,’ the affidavit reads.
They said Kiper left, and they also departed a short while later.
The Todds had no reason to want to burn the home, with no insurance or mortgage, the report said. They also reported no maintenance issues which could have contributed to the fire.
During firefighting operations, Heth Township firefighter Randy Lopp suffered heat exhaustion and was transported to Harrison County Hospital via ambulance.
On July 23, Hartman was notified by the Harrison County Sheriff’s Dept. of a Walmart employee who said he needed to speak to an officer about knowledge he had of a suspect in the Todd fire.
In an audio/video recorded interview, the employee said he came into contact with a male subject, unknown to him but later identified as Kiper, who was acting suspicious in Walmart. He was asked to exit the service area and he later spoke to him outside the auto service area when he said he had burned down Bruce and Stephanie Todd’s house because they disrespected him. Police were contacted after Kiper left the area.
On July 25, Hartman, along with Capt. Brad Shepherd and Officer Nathan Banet of the Harrison County Sheriff’s Dept., went to Kiper’s residence along Union Chapel Road to speak to him about the fire.
‘When officers arrived … and exited our vehicles approaching the residence, officers heard someone running through the trailer and then heard the back door of the trailer slam open against the trailer wall … Mr. Kiper was seen running from the trailer into the woods; however, he returned to officers after being told to stop.’
Kiper later said he ran because he didn’t want any issues for his neighbors or his father who was in the trailer.
He denied any knowledge or involvement with the fire at the Todd residence.
A couple days later, Hartman spoke with a neighbor of the Todds who came into contact with Kiper the day of the fire.
‘(The neighbor) advised Mr. Kiper pulled up in a white Pontiac and asked (him) about buying some stuff on the (neighbor’s) property. (The neighbor) said no … and escorted Kiper back to his vehicle. (The neighbor) advised once Kiper got back to his vehicle he pulled a red gas can from the passenger floor board, which (the neighbor) thought was odd.’
Kiper proceeded to put gas in his car and place the can back in the vehicle and left. The next time (the neighbor) came outside, the Todd home was on fire.
An attorney conference is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 30, with a pretrial conference and initial hearing set for Thursday, Oct. 11.

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