Man charged with fak­ing ar­sons

Free­lance in­ves­ti­ga­tor wanted to make his ac­cel­er­ant-sniff­ing dog look good, at­tor­neys say.

The Detroit News - - DEATH NOTICES - By Ge­orge Hunter

MOUNT CLE­MENS — Jef­frey Wal­lace was more wor­ried about his dog than him­self when he ap­peared in court Wed­nes­day to face charges of plant­ing ar­son ev­i­dence, his at­tor­ney said.

Wal­lace, a for­mer as­sis­tant fire chief and ar­son in­ves­ti­ga­tor, was charged in 42-2 Dis­trict Court with plant­ing ac­cel­er­ants at scenes to make fires look like ar­sons. But even though Wal­lace could face up to 15 years in prison, he was con­cerned his ac­cel­er­antsniff­ing dog would be eu­th­a­nized, said his at­tor­ney, Marc Lakin. “Are you OK?” Lakin asked af­ter the pro­ceed­ings.

“No,” Wal­lace said. “I’m not.”

Wal­lace’s Labrador/golden re­triever mix, Cops, is at the cen­ter of the case, in which both Lakin and Ma­comb County Pros­e­cu­tor Eric Smith say Wal­lace planted gaso­line, lighter fluid and other ac­cel­er­ants in an at­tempt to make the dog look like a hero.

“The dog’s skills were start­ing to wane, and he wanted to help the dog,” Smith said. “He had got­ten a lot of adu­la­tion from the law en­force­ment com­mu­nity, and he wanted to keep that up.”

Lakin said: “It was a silly thing to do.”

The at­tor­ney en­tered a not guilty plea af­ter Wal­lace was charged with ob­struct­ing jus­tice and con­tam­i­nat­ing a crime scene, both of which are felonies.

Af­ter the ar­raign­ment, Ch­ester­field Town­ship Po­lice trans­ported Wal­lace to Bay County to be charged with plant­ing ac­cel­er­ants there.

Judge Paul Cas­sidy set Wal­lace’s bond at $50,000. A pre­lim­i­nary ex­am­i­na­tion was set for June 7.

Wal­lace was ar­raigned Fri­day on sim­i­lar charges in Glad­win and is free on $50,000 bond.

Mean­while, Cops is be­ing housed in a State Po­lice ken­nel, Sgt. Al­lan Ogg said.

“We are not go­ing to de­stroy the dog,” Ogg said. “When Mr. Wal­lace was ar­rested, the ques­tion came up of what to do with the dog, and we de­cided to keep him in our ken­nel so he would be well cared for.”

Wal­lace was a long­time East­pointe fire­fighter and of­fi­cial, who was on the force for 30 years. He was trained in 2003 to han­dle Cops un­der a pro­gram spon­sored by State Farm In­sur­ance.

When Wal­lace re­tired in Novem­ber, he took the dog with him and be­came a free­lance ar­son in­ves­ti­ga­tor.

Wal­lace

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