Boot print helps authorities finger Keystone arson suspect
Summit County correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
KEYSTONE, Colo. ” A boot print left near one of the fires intentionally set at Keystone Resort last weekend led to the arrest of 23-year old Keystone resident on Tuesday.
The Summit County Sheriff’s Office Investigative Division arrested Matthew Hiner on arson charges for allegedly starting fires in the linen closet at Keystone Lodge and Spa and in a storage facility across the street from the lodge.
“It was really brilliant police work that moved this case along so quickly,” said Sheriff John Minor.
Fire crews responded to a smoke alarm at the lodge last Sunday and found a small fire started in a linen closet where a smoke detector had been altered.
After extinguishing the flames in the hotel, Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue battalion chief Travis Davis noticed smoke rising across the street, and firefighters rushed to a storage facility where a pile of old tennis nets had been set on fire.
Investigators found a clear boot print on the door where it had been kicked open.
Investigators first made contact with Hiner shortly after the fires started, and his proximity to the scene, along with his allusive demeanor made him an early suspect.
“He said he was doing his laundry, and he wasn’t, which seemed suspicious,” Minor said. “It turned out he had a warrant for his arrest for a prior incident, and when he was booked into jail, he was wearing Doc Marten boots. We put two and two together, and that is what prompted us to get a warrant.”
On Monday, Summit County investigators obtained a search warrant for Hiner’s residence, and the Doc Marten boots were sent to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation lab in Denver, where it was confirmed the boots matched prints left on the storage-room door.
Hiner later confessed to starting both fires.
He faces charges of first-degree arson, a Class 3 felony that carries a possible penalty of four to 12 years imprisonment and a possible fine of $3,000 to $750,000, and second-degree arson, a Class 4 felony that carries a possible penalty of two to six years imprisonment and a possible fine of $2,000 to $500,000.
Hiner is being held at the Summit County jail on a $15,000 bond.
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