Phoenix Man Who Set Fire to Townhouse Receives 10-Year Prison Term

(Phoenix, Ariz. – Oct. 20, 2009) Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced that Robert Stuart Reed, 55, of Phoenix, has been sentenced to 10.5 years in prison followed by three years probation for setting fire to his rented Phoenix townhouse and endangering the lives of a dozen other residents of the building, including six children.  

According to court documents, in the early morning of April 28, 2007, Reed set fire to the Phoenix townhouse he was renting. By doing so, he risked the lives of 12 sleeping residents of two town homes attached to Reed’s residence. Following the incident, Reed submitted a fraudulent insurance claim to his homeowner’s insurance provider, Travelers Insurance Company, claiming the fire was accidental.

In June 2008, Reed was charged with one count of committing arson of an occupied structure, a class 2 felony, one count of submitting a fraudulent insurance claim, a class 5 felony, and 12 counts of endangerment, a class 6 felony.

Reed failed to appear for his scheduled trial date in January 2009 and was subsequently tried in absentia.  On January 20, a jury convicted Reed of all 14 felony counts and the court issued a warrant for his arrest.  

Reed was arrested by Yavapai County Sheriffs deputies on August 15, 2009.  At the time of his arrest, he was using the assumed name Charles Olson. He was also in possession of a red 1997 Nissan Pathfinder belonging to Kristal Forest, a 64-year-old resident of Camp Verde who has been missing since March 29, 2009, when she was last seen with Reed.  The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office is investigating Ms. Forest’s disappearance. No charges have been filed. 

This case was brought to law enforcement’s attention by Traveler’s Insurance Company. It was investigated by the Arizona Department of Insurance Fraud Unit and the Phoenix Fire Department as well as fire investigators with J. Perkins and Associates, Inc.  Assistant Attorney General Beverly Rudnick prosecuted this case.

For additional information, contact Anne Hilby at (602) 542-8019.