Archbold, OH

Gas Line At Former Shopco Building Was Cut, Police Say

Kaleb Torbet, Archbold police investigator, said evidence points to arson as the motivation behind an incident at the now-vacant Shopko building.

Police were called to the building on South Defiance Street, Wednesday, March 23, after an odor of natural gas was traced back to the building.

A natural gas supply line to a furnace inside the building was cut, Torbet said.

The furnace is suspended from the ceiling, 20 feet above the floor.

That means the perpetrator had to use a tall ladder or a tool on the end of a long pole.

There was no indication of an ignition device such as a candle or flare; the perpetrator was apparently counting on a random spark to set off the gas.

Nor was there any indication the perpetrator broke in the building. There was no sign of forced entry, Torbet said.

He said there had been reports of the smell of gas; when the wind shifted, they were able to trace it back to the vacant building.

The Ohio Gas Company reported an increase in gas usage starting Feb. 19.

Torbet said Archbold police want to speak to anyone who saw anything unusual around the building around that time period; specifically, someone carrying a tall ladder or long pole into the building.

Persons with information should contact Torbet at 419-445-9991.

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