Was it Arson? Let’s Ask Siri.

House on Fire

Timothy R. Primrose, Mobile Forensic Analyst

Background: A man’s house was on fire when he pulled into his driveway late one evening. Most of his belongings were lost in the fire including his truck that was parked in the garage. He sought after some insurance money for his home and vehicle. Firefighters had determined that the fire started due to chemicals on a rag near the steps in the basement. The man said that he had been staining his stairs. The man lived alone with two dogs, which coincidentally were staying at a friend’s house about twenty minutes away. The insurance company requested a data extraction of the man’s cell phone to determine his whereabouts prior to the fire and if he was truthful as to when he arrived at the scene of the fire.

Analysis: While location data was not available relevant to the time frame of the incident, we were able to see what time the phone automatically connected to the Wi-Fi at the man’s home. The phone connected to the Wi-Fi 15 minutes before the man called 911. Additionally, there were Google searches along the lines of “how to burn your house down and make it look like an accident.” There were also text communications with a friend stating that he needed to drop off his dogs at their house for the night.

Results: It was determined that the man had committed arson. He subsequently did not receive any money from his insurance company; however, he did receive charges from local law enforcement.

Categories: Arson | Mobile Forensic Analyst | Timothy R. Primrose


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