Dentist-Turned-Arsonist Made a Rookie Mistake

A dentist was recently accused of setting fire to a boathouse near his residence, but he was shocked when the police actually figured out it was him who did it. It wasn’t too hard, though, when all the police had to do was track a set of footprints from the fire that went directly to his garage! Doh!

John Michael Haag, 55, ‘looked as if he were a deer in headlights’ when authorities showed up at his home.  Evidently, there had been an ongoing dispute over this boathouse with a neighbor and he finally took matters into his own hands. He carried gas cans from his home and walked about a half-mile to the lake where the boathouse was found and quickly began setting fire to the structure.

All over a dispute between members of the Lake Association! Members said that the owner of the boathouse, Wallace Cudd, needed to remove the boathouse, or they would tear it down whether Cudd liked it or not.   

The boathouse wasn’t in the best of shape, which Cudd admitted to, and Haag, who was the Lake Association’s treasurer, had made it his mission to get Cudd to clean it up, per the Department of Natural Resources guidelines of how ‘ideally things should blend along the shoreline,’ which the houseboat clearly did not.

Next thing Cudd knew, his boat house was on fire in the middle of the night! Cudd battled the fire for about 2 and a half hours before he was finally able to put it out and contact authorities. Strange approach there, buddy.

Cudd’s wife initially saw the flames around 2:15 a.m. and Cudd immediately took matters into his own hands to get the fire extinguished because he was concerned the fire would spread to trees and other homes.

When police arrived, they found a set of footprints in the snow leading away from the property directly to Haag’s home. Haag, however, denied all allegations and said that the tracks were only there because it’s the route he walks when he takes out his dog.

Officers weren’t buying it, though, and one deputy noticed two portable gas cans near the garage with their nozzles open, as well.

Authorities left, but returned later with an arrest warrant and Haag eventually admitted, “It was me, I did it, I started the fire.”

Haag handed over the items he wore the night of the fire and the tread on the boots matched the pattern of footprints leading to and from the boathouse.

Hopefully it was worth it to remove the eye sore, because now Haag faces a maximum of 40 years in prison, along with a $100,000 fine! No official word from the Lakehouse Association as of yet.

Original article and Image Credit: Woodbury Dentist Charged After Wisconsin Boathouse Fire. Footprints Gave Him Away