Fire suspect accused of stealing copper |

Fire suspect accused of stealing copper

Staff Reports

Bail is $27,000 for a Wellington man accused of starting last year’s 7,500-acre TRE fire, and now facing four new felonies of grand larceny and burglary in a new case.

Steven Walter Cozad, 30, is to appear Wednesday in East Fork Justice Court with his attorney, Kris Brown.

He and his mother, Kim Carlin, were charged with failure to guard or extinguish a fire, after the May 20, 2012, fire which authorities say started on their property from a burn which got out of control.

Cozad failed to appear for trial May 9 on the fire charge; Carlin is due in court June 19.

Cozad is a suspect in an unrelated case where he is accused of stealing copper wire and wire harnesses valued at $2,500 from a Foothill Road ranch.

According to the complaint, a ranch worker identified Cozad as the suspect who was seen on the property about 10 p.m. on March 31.

The complaint says the suspect is accused of entering a service truck and a semi-truck/trailer on the property, and committing three vehicle burglaries. The witness said he recognized Cozad from his picture in the newspaper, and said they grew up together.

He said he chased the suspect in his vehicle when Cozad reportedly left the property, but gave up when speeds reached 100 mph.

Carlin and Cozad face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted in the fire case.

According to the criminal complaint, the suspects had a controlled burn on the morning of May 20, 2012, at 1221 Slate Road, and failed to properly extinguish the fire.

If convicted, a request for restitution is a possibility. The fire cost an estimated $3.4 million to extinguish. At the height of the blaze, 600 firefighters were on the scene.

Two homes were destroyed, along with 17 other structures and many vehicles.