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Hurricane business owner arrested for arson in trying to defraud his insurance

Jan 13, 2023, 2:43 PM
FILE PHOTO (Hurricane Police Department/Facebook)...
FILE PHOTO (Hurricane Police Department/Facebook)
(Hurricane Police Department/Facebook)

HURRICANE, Utah — A business owner has been arrested for arson after he burned his company’s boat in an attempt to defraud his insurance company.

The man, identified as 49-year-old Joseph Brad Arave, was arrested in Hurricane, Utah on Jan. 12.

According to Washington County Sheriff’s Deputies, on Nov. 6, 2022, deputies responded to a boat and trailer fire in a remote area in Warner Valley.

A witness camping in the area called 911 and reported the fire and seeing a “Ford truck pulling a boat about an hour before they called 911. Around 15 to 20 minutes later, they saw the same truck going the opposite direction without the boat,” and then they saw a fire in the distance.

The boat and trailer were registered to a Hurricane company called Utah Epic Rentals LLC, which offers boat, Polaris RZR, and Wave Runner rentals and is owned by Arave.

When deputies contacted Arave about the boat, he said he didn’t know it was missing and said it must have been stolen.

The boat has an estimated value of $100,000 and after the fire, Arave submitted an insurance claim for around $100,000 for the boat and the trailer.

Deputies later learned that Arave was pulled over in a rental truck and cited for speeding by a Hurricane Police Officer shortly after the fire was first reported.

According to police, “the Hurricane officer was unaware that the truck was involved in the fire at that time, but noticed Arave was very nervous during the stop.”

Detectives took over the case and found the rental truck Arave had been driving when he was stopped by police. After securing a search warrant, detectives used forensic computer software to retieve vehicle computer data from the truck containing dates, times, and GPS locations during the time Arave rented the truck.

That information tracked the truck to the location of the fire, where it stopped for several minutes, and then left the area without stopping until where it was stopped by Hurricane police.

When detectives tried to set up an interview with Arave, he declines and secured an attorney.

On Jan. 12, detectives conducted surveillance on Arave and conducted a traffic stop where they arrested Arave.

In a search of his truck, deputies found a substance that tested positive for methamphetamine. Detectives also discovered that “Arave fled California to avoid persecution for fraud and currently has a California felony warrant, but it’s non-extraditable.”

Arave was booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility on suspicion of Arson with intent to defraud an insurer, 2nd degree felony, possession of a schedule I and II controlled substance, a class A misdemeanor, providing false information to law enforcement officers, a class B misdemeanor, and writing a false statement, a class B misdemeanor.

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Hurricane business owner arrested for arson in trying to defraud his insurance