Police say man broke into a house, removed items, and burned them in the front yard

BUCKHANNON – An Upshur County man was arrested after allegedly breaking into a home and burning items found within the house on Monday.

Christopher Thrain, 52, of Buckhannon, was arrested for burglary and fourth-degree arson.

According to the criminal complaint filed in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s Office, on Monday, July 11, at approximately 11:11 a.m., trooper Z.M. Lewis received a call from the Upshur County Communications Center in reference to a breaking and entering in progress on the Hickory Flat Road.

Upon arriving on the scene, Lewis saw “what appeared to be a burn pile with smoke coming from the pile” in front of the home. There appeared to be several burnt and partially burnt items in the pile, and Lewis noticed the garage door was open and the front door partially closed.

At that point, Lewis and Upshur County Sheriff’s deputies began to clear the residence and attempt to locate anyone inside. A deputy then spotted a man walking on a trail behind the home.

“This individual was detained and identified as Christopher Thrain,” Lewis wrote in the complaint. “When asked, the accused claimed he had not been inside the residence on this day but was inside on a prior day. The accused could not provide an explanation for why he was behind the residence.”

The homeowner arrived and told the officers that he drove by the house and noticed his garage door was open and called 911.

“The victim advised he did not know who the accused was and had only seen him a couple times through mutual friends,” Lewis wrote. “The victim said he actively resides at the residence and the accused did not have permission to be inside his home.”

Lewis again talked to Thrain, who allegedly changed his story and admitted that he was inside the residence that day. The officer noticed paper sticking out of Thrain’s pocket and asked him what it was.

“He advised the paperwork belonged to the victim and that he had removed it from the house to get a better understanding of when the victim was previously in jail,” Lewis wrote in the complaint. “[Thrain] stated repeatedly he took the papers, which were jail release paperwork, to reveal why the victim was in jail. However, he acknowledged the paperwork was not his to take from the residence. After further speaking, the accused stated he burned and attempted to burn several things from inside the house that he advised were trash.”

Thrain also allegedly told the officer that he had done meth earlier and was an addicted drug user.

Upshur County Magistrate Clerk Alan Suder set bail at $30,000 cash only.

The potential penalty for burglary is confinement in a state correctional facility for not less than one nor more than 15 years. The potential penalty for arson in the fourth degree is confinement for not less than one year and not more than two years, a fine not to exceed $2,500, or both.

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