A Morrisdale man accused of setting his truck on fire to cover up his theft of raffle ticket funds pleaded guilty Tuesday in Clearfield County Court.
William Blake Verbeck, 63, was sentenced to 30 days to one year in jail and three years consecutive probation for one felony count of arson by President Judge Fredric Ammerman.
He was also ordered to pay a total of more than $7,400 to the fire company and the bank that had financed the truck.
The charges stem from an incident Aug. 23, 2016, when Verbeck reported that his vehicle was on fire. Later he told Morris Township Fire Company officials that raffle tickets and cash that he was delivering to them were destroyed in that fire.
According to court documents, 18 firefighters from the Winburne and Grassflat fire companies responded to the fire, which was suspicious in nature. A deputy fire marshal with the state police said the fire began in the cab of the truck but he was unable to determine the cause of the fire.
The fire marshal did not find any evidence of the tickets or the money Verbeck said were inside the vehicle and he reportedly suspected Verbeck started the fire because he had spent the money himself.
In an interview with police, Verbeck admitted he had money problems but claimed there were both cash and ticket stubs in the truck. Investigators were able to find $600 worth of the ticket stubs at his residence but they did not find any cash. After this, Verbeck confessed that he was using the money from the tickets to pay his bills. He admitted to using a cigar and tissue paper to start the fire.