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CFO Jeff Atwater Announces the Arrests of Two Arsonists in Polk County

5/20/2011

Contact: Alexis Lambert 
(850) 413-2842

TALLAHASSEE—Florida Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater today announced the arrests of Rodney Michael Lane and John Robert Reid of Frostproof after a joint investigation involving the Division of State Fire Marshal’s Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations (BFAI) determined the two men set fire to a residence, causing approximately $40,000 in damage, in an attempt to cover up a burglary.

“There is no excuse for intentionally endangering the lives of others,” said CFO Atwater.  “I’m proud of the work done by my office and Polk County’s fire and law enforcement professionals to bring these individuals to justice.”

On November 29, 2010, the Polk County Fire Rescue and Frostproof Fire Departments responded to a structure fire on McClellan Road in Frostproof and requested the assistance of the BFAI to determine the cause of the fire.  The BFAI determined that the fire was intentionally set to conceal a burglary.
On May 19, 2011, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office received a tip about multiple burglaries that occurred at residences in the Frostproof area, specifically mentioning a fire in November 2010. The tip led to the arrests of Rodney Michael Lane and John Robert Reid who were booked at the Polk County Jail on charges of arson and tampering with evidence. If convicted, Reid and Lane could face up to 35 years in jail. Further charges were also made by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office for multiple burglaries and grand thefts from this case and other cases.

To report arson, call 1-877-No-Arson (1-877-662-7766).  A reward of up to $5,000 may be paid for a tip that leads directly to an arrest and conviction.

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official and officer of the Florida Cabinet, oversees the Department of Financial Services including the Division of Insurance Fraud.  CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government, reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses, and providing transparency and accountability in spending.