Dover man charged with arson, insurance fraud

Christopher Dornblaser

Police say a Dover man helped incinerate his own vehicle, claiming it to be stolen so he could receive insurance money.

Adam Franklin Becker, 31, of 1925 Oakley Drive, is charged with criminal conspiracy to commit arson, arson, insurance fraud and false reports, according to charging documents.

Arson: At around 2 a.m. on Aug. 2, 2015, Northern York County Regional Police responded to a report of a vehicle fire on the 3500 block of Starview Road, where they found a vehicle fully engulfed in flames, about 30 feet down an embankment, documents state.

Police were able to determine the vehicle did not go airborne and that it traveled around 200 feet before coming to a final resting position in the field, police said. They were also able to see there was no damage to the front of the vehicle, showing that it was not involved in a crash but instead it was deliberately driven to its final position, documents state.

The vehicle, a 2003 Volkswagen Jetta, belonged to Becker, documents state. Police went to his home address and spoke to Becker, who told officers the vehicle was parked in his garage and had been for two days, documents state. When he went to check the vehicle, it was not in the garage, and he told police he had two keys for the vehicle, one of which was missing, police said.

He contacted Progressive to file a claim for the incident, documents state. Becker denied having any involvement with the vehicle fire and told police he was a victim of a burglary, police said.

Through investigation, police determined the fire started in the front seats of the vehicle, starting in the passenger compartment of the vehicle as a result of direct flame coming contact with combustible material in the vehicle, documents state.

Involvement: Police say an anonymous tipster told them Becker was involved with the arson of the vehicle and on Sept. 3, a search warrant on Becker's phone was served for records of the time of the alleged burglary and arson, as well as GPS coordinates.

Phone records indicated multiple calls between midnight and 1:20 a.m. the night of the arson, a time during which Becker claimed to be asleep, documents state. GPS records indicated Becker's phone pinged a cellphone tower approximately 1000 feet from where the vehicle was set on fire, a tower that Becker's phone would not have been able to ping had he been in his residence, police said.

After repeated attempts to contact Becker, police finally were able reach him at his new address on Dec. 29, where he told police he met a man on West Market Street in York City who agreed to make Becker's car "disappear" and Becker would pay the man for it, documents state. Becker told police the man never came back to get paid, documents state. Police say Becker said he left his keys in the garage for the man to use and for him to take the car. He told police he had known the man took his car when police came to his door that night, but he wanted insurance money so he reported the car stolen, documents state.

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