PD: Contractor hires arsonists to set fire to home he's renovating

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Posted at 12:34 PM, May 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-30 17:55:12-04

PHOENIX — A contractor pays $10,000 to two men to set fire to a home he's renovating.

On April 13 the Phoenix Fire department responded to a house fire near 21st Avenue and Bethany Home Road. The fire caused an explosion that blew the front window into the street. Fire investigators reportedly found "burn marks in numerous areas throughout the house, including along the baseboards and in holes in the walls."

A witness told investigators that after hearing the explosion, she saw a truck leaving the house.

The next day police met Zachary David Akers, the main contractor renovating the house. Men who worked for Akers reportedly told police that Akers "repeatedly solicited" them to burn down the house. He allegedly complained about how much money he was losing on the house.

Police located two workers who took the offer, agreeing to $5,000 each. Akers provided Joshua Bowen, 19 and Lance Joey Richards with tools to make holes in the walls. He also allegedly told them that they would have to wait 30 days for the insurance money to come in so that they could get paid.

When police found Richards, both of his legs were bandaged from his ankles to his knees. The bandages were covering burns he suffered after setting the fire.

Akers and Bowen have been charged with arson, fraud, and conspiracy. Charges against Richards have not yet been filed.