On Saturday June 15, 2019 at approximately 2210 hrs. Officers from Lancaster Bureau of Police and firefighters from the Bureau of Fire responded for a reported vehicle fire on the 300 blk. S. Ann St. The vehicle, a 2013 Chevrolet Equinox, was parked to the rear of the homes and was fully involved and eventually destroyed by fire.
Det. Grager was working night shift and responded to the scene. Det. Grager requested that a Fire Marshall from Pennsylvania State Police respond to examine the vehicle.
The vehicle owner, Candice Dennison, was contacted and advised that the vehicle had been vandalized and set on fire. The owner told Det. Grager that the vehicle had been parked at that location for (3) days.
PSP Fire Marshall Trooper Gehman responded and conducted an examination of the vehicle. Trooper Gehman determined that the fire originated in the passenger compartment of the vehicle and had been deliberately set by human hands.
Further examination of the engine compartment revealed that certain components of the system had been disabled and that the vehicle would not have functioned.
During an interview with the C. Dennison, Trooper Gehman was told that there were no known mechanical issues with the vehicle. C. Dennison told Trooper Gehman that approximately $12,000 was still owed on the vehicle loan.
Trooper Gehman learned that on March 23, 2019 the Equinox had been towed to a garage in Akron, PA due to the vehicle not starting. The problem was diagnosed as the vehicle needed a new timing chain. An estimate/invoice for the repair was in excess of $1,000.00 The vehicle was later towed from the lot in Akron on June 12, 2019. The tow driver delivered the vehicle to the location on S. Ann St. where the fire later took place. There is no evidence that the vehicle ever operated or been driven after it had been towed to the garage in March 2019.
Det. Grager learned that in April 2019, C. Dennison cancelled the vehicle insurance policy. A new insurance policy with another company was created on May 7, 2019. That policy was listed in the name of a 3rd party, the vehicle owner’s niece, Chanliza Stormfeltz. Stormfeltz was reportedly the primary driver of the Equinox. A claim for the vehicle was filed on June 17, 2019 after the fire.
During an interview with Trooper Gehman, Stormfeltz told him that she had driven the vehicle on June 15, 2019 and that after a stop in Ephrata the vehicle would not start. During an interview with Det. Grager, C. Dennison told him that she had been informed that the Equinox was disabled in Ephrata on June 15, 2019. She told Det. Grager that she was able to drive the Equinox to Lancaster City with no issues. That information was inconsistent with what Trooper Gehman had learned about the vehicle from the garage in Akron and the condition in which the engine had been found after the fire.
The investigators conducted forensic examinations of the cellular phones for C. Dennison, her husband Fidel Dennison and Stormfeltz. F. Dennison’s phone was in the vicinity of the vehicle just minutes prior to the time of the fire. F. Dennison could not have been at his home in Pequea Twp. at the time of the fire as he had claimed during an earlier interview with an insurance claim investigator. The same investigation of phone data locations showed that C. Dennison and Stormfeltz were not in Lancaster County at the time of the fire.
As a result of this collaborative investigation with PSP Fire Marshall’s Office, Det. Grager filed a Criminal Complaint against Fidel Dennison before MDJ Richardson. F. Dennison was charged with (2) Counts Arson (F2), (2) Counts Risking or Causing a Catastrophe (F3), Criminal Mischief by Fire (F3), Criminal Conspiracy- Criminal Mischief by Fire (F3), Insurance Fraud (F3) and Criminal Conspiracy- Insurance Fraud (F3). A warrant was issued for F. Dennison.
Det. Grager, Trooper Gehman and Officers from Pequea Twp. Police went to the Dennison home on September 9, 2019. F. Dennison was taken into custody on the warrant, processed on the complaint and held for arraignment. F. Dennison was released on $25,000 bail unsecured.
This investigation is not complete. Additional charges and/or Criminal Complaints may be filed at a future date, pending the outcome of the investigation.
All persons accused of a crime are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in court.