Burglary, then fire hit Muller Rd. farm SOUTHWEST -- Mount Airy * Woodbine * Taylorsville * Winfield

Double trouble struck a South Carroll plumbing contractor when burglars robbed him Wednesday and then a fire destroyed property in his house early yesterday.

William Forman, who lives and operates a farm on Muller Road not far from Clearview Airpark, called state police Wednesday to report that someone had kicked in a door of the house, ransacked the place and stolen more than $8,000 worth of property.


Articles stolen from the residence between 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. included five guns, three .22-caliber rifles, a 12-gauge shotgun and a 20-gauge shotgun, as well as cash taken from a filing cabinet, the contractor said.

Mr. Forman, who lives in an old farmhouse off a stone driveway about 150 yards from the road, said, "I'm surprised anyone would come back a narrow driveway like this. Suppose I drove back in while they were driving out? They would be blocked. But I guess the cornfields block the view of the house so nobody could see what was going on."


"They went through the entire house looking in every drawer and pulling things out of them," he said. "They even took the keys from the kitchen and went in the motor home."

A 1991 American Eagle motor home that Mr. Forman hopes to use on an extended trip sits in a shed 25 yards from the house.

Also taken in the theft were a VCR, stereo equipment, three satellite boxes and other electronic components that had been ripped from the shelves surrounding an oversized television.

The TV was pulled from a platform and overturned on the floor of the ground-level family room.

Yesterday morning Mr. Forman took his 14-year-old daughter to school, then returned to the house and turned on the television, which he had replaced on its platform after police dusted it for fingerprints. He climbed the stairway to the floor above.

"Within minutes," he said, "I smelled smoke and rushed downstairs to find the room filled with heavy black smoke, which was coming from the rear of the TV. I called 911 and then used two hand fire extinguishers to put out the blaze."

Standing in the middle of the family room, where the television was again lying on its face on the floor, he added, "The fire probably started from bare wires when they stole the equipment yesterday."

The black smoke that filled the lower level of the house came from the burning and melting of the back cover of the TV, a fire official told Mr. Forman.


Fire damage was confined to the TV and smoke damage to the lower level, Mr. Forman said.