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A gay man in Lakeland, Fla., who reached out for help after claiming that his mobile home had been torched by arsonists, has been charged with the crime, The Ledger newspaper reports. A Lakeland fire investigator on Wednesday charged Christopher Michael Robertson, 23, with one count of arson, burning to defraud an insurer, two counts of false and fradulent insurance claims, and making a false report to a law enforcement officer, according to the Lakeland Fire Department.
The July 25 fire gutted the home Roberston shared with his partner, Paul Day, at Kings Manor Mobile Home Park. Several valuables were stolen--including a TV and a laptop computer--and "Die fag'' was spray-painted on the front steps of the home, the couple told Lakeland firefighters, making the fire appear to be a hate crime.
Robertson confessed to the crime, saying he wanted insurance money from the mobile home, said Lakeland fire spokeswoman Cheryl Edwards. He also said he used the fire as a "scare tactic'' to motivate his partner into moving out of the mobile home park, Edwards added. Day, who was interviewed by The Advocate in September, had no knowledge of his partner's setting the fire and was not charged, the fire department said. (Advocate.com)