Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Police arrest Cheney man in arson case


September 20, 2018

Issac S. Depaolo, 19, Cheney, was booked into the Whitman County jail Monday afternoon on two probable charges of arson and a charge of vehicle prowl. Depaolo has been named as a suspect in the suspicious fire which destroyed a wooden deck on the back of the Theta Chi fraternity on College Hill early Sunday morning.

An arrest report by Pullman Officer Christopher Engle alleged surveillance videos in the college hill area clearly show Depaolo walking around buildings and, in some cases, lighting fires.

The report noted a dumpster fire was reported at 4:15 a.m. Sunday behind the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity on 500 NE Colorado, approximately an hour before members the Theta Chi fraternity were roused by sounds of the deck burning behind their house. Two other fire sites were discovered, one on the north side of the building and one on the east side.

Engle reported Depaolo was identified through a Department of Licensing photo which matched the photos on the surveillance tapes. The report said when he was arrested at his residence in Cheney, the suspect initially denied he was the person in the video recordings, but he was confronted with prints of the photos.

The vehicle prowl part of the investigation cites a fire in an Acura which was parked at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity on NE B street.

The report alleged Depaolo said he was intoxicated and could not recall a motive for starting the fires. It said he agreed a “probable motive” could be that he was kicked out of the Theta Chi fraternity the previous night.


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