Bloomington police made an arrest Wednesday in connection to a fire on June 24, 2017, which decimated the Bounds and McPike Flooring building on West Third Street.
Danny Corlette, 51, of Springville, Indiana, is charged with arson and burglary.
Corlette was one of two people suspected of involvement with the fire, based on the past criminal history of people employed or contracted by the business, Bloomington Police Department Lt. John Kovach said Thursday. Corlette had been contracted to lay carpet by the business in the past.
A break in the investigation came after the second suspect, another worker who had contracted for the company and was never charged, died in an accident in September.
Kovach said a member of the second suspect’s family came forward to police, saying he would not usually rat out his own family, but now that he was dead he was comfortable telling officers what he had heard from his relative.
The fire, which decimated the building where the flooring business was located, was believed by fire investigators to have started when a piece of carpeting was lit on fire. Kovach said police soon came to believe the fire was set to destroy evidence of an alleged burglary.
Authorities suspected foul play early on in the investigation, Kovach said. A glass door to the business had been shattered and fire department officials told police they believed it was not due to fire.
A five-foot tall safe containing a few hundred dollars and some paperwork was found to be missing from the building. So far, Kovach said, the safe has not been recovered.
Investigators recently obtained Corlette’s phone records, Kovach said. When they questioned Corlette on Wednesday at BPD he continued to deny involvement with the fire, and also told police he was not in possession of his cellphone at the time the fire occurred.
Police interviewed people who had spoken over the phone with Corlette during the same time period, and, based on cellphone tower location information, Kovach said they were able to place him at the scene.
The family member’s statements confirmed what police had already suspected, Kovach said.
Corlette was booked into the Monroe County Correctional Facility Wednesday night.
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