A Comanche County Rancher watched his barn go up in flames and what firefighters found inside was odd. They found a pickup truck that did not belong to the owner and, even more suspicious was that investigators believe it was arson that caused the destruction of the building. Comanche County Investigators have arrested two young men for this suspicious fire.
Deanna and Phil Bohl, residents of Chattanooga, were out of town for a few days and when they got back on Saturday night, they heard their radio go off. It was dispatching them to their own barn - east of the city.
Deanna's husband is a volunteer firefighter and when they got to the barn, they found it totally engulfed in flames. Deanna said they new something was wrong immediately because they haven't kept any hay inside the barn for years. So, when they saw the unfamiliar truck burning within, it confirmed their suspicions. Someone purposely put it there to hide it.
"[I feel] violated and unsafe. When it happens to one person, it happens to everybody," she said. Deanna says investigators told her that it appeared the suspects stole the car just days before from another Chattanooga resident. They told her it appeared they were stripping the vehicle, possibly to sell its parts.
Deanna says it's troubling to know that the four people of interest identified by investigators are young people that she knows. "It's just a sad situation. This is a small community where people know each other and trust each other. And, it's just sad to see kids get into situations like this and do this kind of destruction."
The investigation is in its preliminary stage, but so far, Sheriff Kenny Stradley says it appears the suspects started the fire to destroy evidence. The owner of the pick up truck says the vehicle had at least $13,000 worth of work done on it and that it had actually been sold at one point. Then, his wife surprised him and bought it back as a Valentine's Day present - so, the truck meant a lot to him. And, even he knows the four young men that may involved.
Right now, the charges aren't clear, but 7News will keep you informed. If you know anything about this crime, please call the Comanche County Sheriff's Department at 580-353-4280.
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