Denver Police: Burglar booby trapped home to burn

Homeowner walked in on crime

DENVER - A 71-year-old  Denver woman walked in on a burglar trying to set her home on fire, according to police reports.

The homeowner tells 7NEWS she walked into her home in the 700 block of Madison Street on the afternoon of Aug. 17 and smelled gasoline or propane. She then saw the man run out the back door, taking her credit cards and her car.

Police reports obtained by 7NEWS show police found the burglar left behind elaborate attempts to set the home on fire.

"A hair dryer was found plugged in and turned on with water running over it in the master bedroom," the report states. "A clothes iron was found in the on position on top of papers under a pile of clothing."

The list goes on, including newspapers stuffed in the oven with a can of WD-40 lubricant. A 20-pound propane tank was left in the center of the kitchen floor along with a space heater "with liquid-soaked paper pressed against the front of it on the kitchen floor."

There was also unknown liquid spread all over the kitchen as well as liquid and a stack of paper atop the gas stove, police reports said.

Police said none of the ignitions were successful, but they are concerned about the extent of the effort.

"We've seen fires set before to cover up various types of crimes, but this was pretty extensive," said Sonny Jackson, a Denver police spokesman. "Generally, a crime like this, it doesn't seem random in nature, but we don't know that at this point, obviously. We haven't seen crimes like this recently or in the area that I know of, so we've got a lot of questions."

The homeowner described the burglar as a white man with blond or strawberry blond hair who stands about 5-feet-10-inches tall and has a medium build. He was wearing a bandana over his face, a red T-shirt and shorts.

Investigators were at the victim's house on Monday asking her more questions about what happened. 

Police say they don't know if it was a random attack or the woman was targeted.




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