Two arrests have been made in connection with an arson fire in Bingham in which a woman allegedly hired a man to torch her van to collect insurance money.

Jennifer Sandoval, 30, was arrested Friday and Anthony Salisbury, 24, was arrested Tuesday after an investigation conducted by fire investigators with help from Somerset County Sheriff’s deputies. Both of Solon, they have been charged with arson, conspiracy to commit arson and insurance fraud, according to a news release from Steve McCausland, Department of Public Safety spokesman.

According to an affidavit filed by Jeremy R. Damren, an officer with the state fire marshal’s office, Sandoval paid Salisbury $300 to set her green 2002 Dodge Caravan on fire so that she could collect $2,108.68 from Geico Insurance.

On July 24, the Bingham Fire Department and Deputy Toby Blodgett responded to a report of a smoking vehicle off Brighton Road. Blodgett stopped two males walking about a mile away from the scene whom the deputy identified as Anthony Salisbury and Michael Kennedy, 25. Salisbury and Kennedy denied knowing anything about the vehicle fire and said that they were lost and trying to make their way to School Street in Solon, according to the affidavit.

Blodget got a call from Sandoval later that day, claiming that the vehicle had been stolen at some point during the night from her driveway on Pleasant Street in Solon. Sandoval denied knowing Kennedy or Salisbury.

In the months that followed, investigators heard from two sources that there was reason to believe that Sandoval wanted to get rid of her van and collect the insurance money, with one source adding that Sandoval coordinated with Kennedy and Salisbury to do so.

In August and October 2017, Sandoval told officials that she believed that Kennedy and Salisbury did in fact steal and burn her car.

Damren and fire investigator Ken MacMaster interviewed Kennedy in a hotel room in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, in October. Kennedy said he, Sandoval, Kennedy and Salisbury were all drinking at Sandoval’s house that night. Kennedy said Sandoval asked him and Salisbury to take her car and burn it so she could get the insurance money, Damren wrote in the affidavit.

Kennedy said that he and Salisbury took the car and crashed it in a ditch. Kennedy said that he was just along for the ride and that Salisbury was the one who lit a plastic bottle and put it in the front driver’s seat of the vehicle. They were later picked up by a person in a Volkswagen and taken to Salisbury’s house on School Street in Solon.

On Nov. 20, Sandoval admitted to arranging for her van to be destroyed and that she, Salisbury and Kennedy, along with two other people, were drinking at her house that night, according to the affidavit. She said that Kennedy helped Salisbury burn the car. She also said that when she received the insurance money months later that she met Salisbury in a parking lot in Solon and gave him $300 for burning her vehicle.

Sandoval and Salisbury are being held at the Somerset County Jail.

The news release from McCausland didn’t explain why Kennedy wasn’t arrested.

Emily Higginbotham — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: EmilyHigg

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