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OFF BEAT: Man under fire for allegedly burning apartment for insurance money


A Florida man is feeling the heat from prosecutors for allegedly torching his own apartment to collect on an insurance policy.

Prosecutors say Christopher Joseph Koepke set fire to his apartment in Jacksonville, Fla., in the early hours of Sept. 15, 2011, just 18 hours after upping the limits on his renters insurance policy to $70,000.

Mr. Koepke had collected $40,000 on a renters insurance claim after a fire in a separate apartment in the same complex six months earlier. According to published reports, Mr. Koepke’s wife testified that most of the money from the initial claim went toward buying furniture for the new apartment, with some $10,000 spent on electronics and video game systems.

Charged with two counts of arson and one count of filing a false insurance claim, Mr. Koepke faces up to 30 years in prison.

Looks like Mr. Koepke should hope his defense doesn’t go up in flames, or he might find himself in hot water.