X-rated prank in Snowmass leads to fire, arson charge
After his roommate drew phallic symbols on his face while he was passed out last weekend, a Snowmass Village man set fire to the garage of the home they shared in retaliation, according to court documents.
Stephen Elmore, 25, is facing a felony charge of first-degree arson, according to an affidavit filed Monday in Pitkin County District Court.
“I asked Elmore what started (the fire), and he said, ‘It was just like by her … drawing penises on my face,’” a Snowmass Village police officer wrote in the affidavit. “I asked Elmore if he was just really pissed off and he said, ‘Yeah come on man … this is bulls—.’”
Officers and firefighters were dispatched to the home in the 100 block of Stallion Circle at about 12:15 a.m. Saturday, the affidavit states. A resident told police the flames reached 3 to 4 feet high, discolored the garage ceiling and appeared to have been fed by shoes and other items stored in the garage, according to the document.
The residents had managed to extinguish the fire themselves before firefighters arrived, and the damage was kept to a 3-foot-by-3-foot section of the garage, the affidavit states.
Five people were at the residence at the time emergency officials arrived. One of them — a 31-year-old man — told police he’d been drinking earlier in the evening upstairs at the residence with a group that included Elmore and another man, the affidavit states.
At some point, Elmore began yelling at the 31-year-old man and shoved him, “accusing him of ‘drawing dicks on his face,’” according to the document. The man shoved Elmore back, while the other man attempted to break them apart.
A 37-year-old woman who identified herself as the homeowner reported to police that she told Elmore at that time she drew “balls” on his face with a marker while he was passed out in the living room, according to the affidavit. At that point, Elmore went downstairs to his room next to the garage, and 10 minutes later they all smelled smoke, the document states.
After discovering the fire, the man who broke up the fight found Elmore lying in bed and kicked him out of the house, according to the affidavit.
Elmore was not present at the home when police arrived, though he walked up not long after wearing only socks on his feet, according to the affidavit. Elmore stumbled as he walked, had slurred speech and smelled of alcohol, the document states.
Elmore initially denied setting the fire, then attempted to change tactics with the officers.
“Elmore told me, ‘Can’t you just work with me, bro? I was thinking irrationally,’” the affidavit states.
Later in the interview, Elmore said, “I had no intention of burning down the house or anything. If we could just put this in the past, I would really appreciate it,” according to the affidavit.
A minute later, Elmore again denied setting the fire and said he had no idea how it started. He was then arrested and taken to jail.
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Alex Rager believes that the search for affordable housing in the Roaring Fork Valley can sometimes boil down to luck and timing. “When you least expect it and when you most need it is when things happen,” she said.