Hot story UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Friday, May 30, 2008

Hot story UPDATE

Posted By on Fri, May 30, 2008 at 8:52 AM

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Blog reader CS alerts me to an out-of-the-ordinary house fire story on Channel 4.

A house at 43 Chenal Circle burned last night.

It happened around 1:45 Friday morning... Fire officials say the fire started at the back of the house.

They say a man was inside when the fire started, but was able to make it out. According to the police report, the owner, 31-year-old Aaron Jones, was asleep in his home when a man woke him up and pointed a black semi automatic gun at him.

Jones' stated his eyes and mouth were duct taped shut, and hands and feet bound. He states moments later he could smell smoke. Jones' was able to free himself and call 911 from a neighbors house.

The house is listed for sale at $1.8 million. It's shown above from the listing page in happier days. According to Arkansas Business, Jones (pictured) -- a lawyer with Spears and Jones of Benton -- and his wife Abigail bought the 4,685-square-foot house in 2005 for $1.6 million. "Jones said what attracted him to the three-bedroom home were the antique fixtures, the Baccarat crystal chandelier and the limestone columns."

The Fire Department said the house was a total loss in the fire, called in at 1:28 a.m. A spokesman said evidence was found that the fire was set in two different places on the ground floor. According to the Fire Department spokesman, Jones told fire investigators that the intruder he encountered was male and that there were perhaps others. A police report says there were two intruders who taped Jones. I've left phone and e-mail messages for Jones.

Jones is a land developer in Saline County. He landed on the Arkansas Business 40 under 40 list, too. He hosted a trip for Bryant aldermen that stirred up a bit of controversy in February. 

UPDATE: Arkansas Business adds some financial details. The home has been for sale for almost a year and has been marked down from about $2.2 million. AB reports finding $1.88 million in debt on the house, including a note for $430,000 to the previous owner. That note was payable May 5 and records do not indicate it has been paid, AB also reported.

Police statement on jump. I'm told further that when police arrived, Jones was still bound, his hands in front of him. He had "hopped" to a neighbor's house and rang the bell. She looked outside and, seeing a man with bound hands, immediately called 911, Lt. Terry Hastings said. The episode is being viewed as a home intrusion and arson, Hastings said. He said Jones had been very cooperative in working with police. In answer to a question posed by a reader, Hastings said Jones' wife and child were at the family's vacation home in Florida.

LRPD RELEASE

Officers and members of the Little Rock Fire Department responded to a home intrusion robbery in which the house had been set on fire at 43 Chenal Circle.

Aaron Jones, owner of the residence, was found with his hands and feet bound with duct tape. He stated that he was in bed when a male subject entered his home and pointed a black semi automatic gun at him.

This subject then duct taped Jones' eyes and mouth and told him not to move. Jones stated that there was at least one more person in the house, but he did not see him. He heard the subjects moving throughout his house for several minutes. Jones advised that after he couldn't hear the subjects anymore, he began to smell smoke.

He was able to remove the tape from his eyes and mouth and he exited the residence and went to a neighbors to call police. Jones stated that from the sound of the male subject's voice, he appeared to be a white male. He was approximately six feet tall and 200 pounds, and sounded like an older person.

A gas can was located in the house which was found to be the cause of the fire. At this point it is unknown if anything was taken from the victim or his home. No arrest at this time. This incident is still under investigation

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