Another arson case is put to an end as a former assistant fire chief who has been indicted to be guilty of starting two small fires in small town near Philadelphia has settled for a plea bargain setting him temporarily free from jail.
Robert Tracey Jr., a 37-year-old citizen from Coatesville, Pennsylvania was included in the seven suspects who have been previously arrested in relation to a number of fires in and around Coatesville last February 2008. According to reports, it was a Chester County judge that allowed Robert Tracey Jr.’s plea bargain. Reports indicate that the County judge approved his temporary release because the judge found his cause surprising – the accused was initially sentenced to 8 months of prison, which was now extended to 23 months. During one of the trials, Tracey has confessed of putting a porch seat cushion on fire in March 2009, after which he attempted to set fire on a trash can nearby.
On the other hand, Insurance providers feel bad about the result of the trial against Tracey. According to a representative of a Major insurance company in Philadelphia, the place where this supposed crime took place was already plagued with arson cases and news about a man accused of arson sent free, can send a message that the law is lenient regarding arson cases.
In Philadelphia, one of the biggest problems faced by insurance providers is the increasing number in fake insurance claims to cover car damages resulting from arson. A recent study conducted by the Insurance Information Institute reveals that arson cases have increased by 11% from 2008 to 2009. Insurance providers are left to carry the burden of covering claim costs and costs of verifying if a vehicle that caught on fire was an accident or intentional. Insurers are afraid that if cases similar to Tracey go on, customers may be provoked to set old cars on fire in an attempt to cash up on insurance claims.
While State officials remained silent, insurance providers released a statement that if the case regarding Tracy is not immediately resolved; it may trigger more arson cases in Philadelphia, which eventually will lead to companies charging more expensive premium rates. Experts say that the court decision will not help in the State’s effort to cut back on arson cases and fraudulent insurance claims. As of now, insurers have been petitioning to reconsider the plea bargain granted to Robert Tracey Jr. The Philadelphia juridical office has not yet released a statement regarding this issue after media reports mushroomed reacting on the case.