Man's Pants Lead To His Arrest For Allegedly Starting Fire

Walter Clepper Jr. / Courtesy Hamilton County Sheriff's Office
Walter Clepper Jr. / Courtesy Hamilton County Sheriff's Office

(CINCINNATI) -- A man is being held on a $600,000 bond for allegedly starting a fire in Reading.

Walter Clepper Jr., 60, is charged with six counts of aggravated arson.

Firefighters responded to a suspicious fire Monday morning in the basement garage area of a four family apartment complex located in the 600 block of Maple Drive.

Investigation revealed a possible accelerant was involved. Additionally, a kerosene heater was located on the opposite side of the garage, with the cap removed, and a liquid similar to kerosene in the area of the heater.

Witnesses on the scene indicated Clepper, who is one of the tenants, was observed sitting on the steps inside the hallway of the apartment, and reported smelling kerosene on him. Police then located Clepper, who was sitting in his mother's car near the scene. Upon speaking with him, police say a strong smell of kerosene could be noted upon opening the vehicle door.

Clepper was taken in to the Reading police department for questioning and gave consent to search his apartment.

While at the apartment, police found a pair a brown pants in the bedroom area that appeared saturated around the cuffs and smelled strongly of kerosene. Clepper was questioned about the pants, and denied ever seeing them. However, police found a lighter in the pocket of the pants, as well as a wallet containing his social security card.