How Facebook Led to William Lindauer's Bust in "My Wife Is a Cheater" Fire

Update: At a court appearance yesterday, William Lindauer, who's accused of burning down his home on March 9 after painting messages such as "My Wife Is a Cheater" on its exterior (see our previous coverage below), was ordered held on a $50,000 bond.

Meanwhile, an arrest affidavit was made available in the case.

Although we typically include such documents in posts, we're not going to do so in this case, because the names of Lindauer's three young children appear in the text.

However, we're sharing other details from the report, including Lindauer's claim that he doesn't remember actually setting the house ablaze, but admits that he was being both "drunk" and "stupid" around the time the fire started — not to mention the role Facebook likes played in what went down.

The affidavit reveals that shortly after Arvada Fire Department personnel responded to the blaze at the residence, on the 6800 block of Nelson Street, police from the community learned that Lindauer had called 911 and requested medical attention for what's described as an "injured hand."

After he was placed in custody, his bicycle and backpack were located in a trash can outside his mom's house in Denver.

During a subsequent interview with investigators, Lindauer revealed that after getting off work around 5:30 p.m. on the 9th, he stopped by Cabela's and bought an MMP 40 shotgun and two types of ammo.

He insisted that he purchased the weapon because he wanted to hurt himself, not anyone else — but he did say his wife, Brianne Lindauer, had previously taken all his other guns away.

We should note at this point that the Lindauers divorced in 2014. However, CBS4 points out that the couple later reunited, only to split again two weeks before the fire. That's when Brianne and the kids moved to her parents' house.

In addition to buying the gun, Lindauer told police, he also went to a liquor store and purchased some vodka. Back at the house, he started doing shots and drunkenly sending text messages to people.

Why was he so despondent? Because he thought Brianne was cheating on him with an old high school friend; he's identified in the report, and his name also appeared in graffiti on the house — but we're leaving out that part, too, owing to the next part of the narrative.

According to Lindauer, he started noticing that this man was liking everything Brianne posted on her Facebook page, which he said he had been monitoring. So he confronted her about having a relationship with the man. Brianne told cops she didn't even know who Lindauer was talking about at first, because she hadn't been in contact with the high school acquaintance for years. But he says she "did not deny having a relationship with someone else."

At that point, Lindauer said his memory failed him. The next thing he recalled, he was walking his bike by a park and noticing that his hand hurt — hence his call to 911. He didn't admit to burning down the house, but said that if he had, he would have done so because he was "drunk" and "stupid."

In her own interview with police, Brianne said Lindauer had been put on anti-anxiety medication after they separated. She characterized him as "an alcoholic who gets angry when he drinks and would regularly punch holes in the wall."

She added that he had repeatedly threatened suicide and told her that if she left, he wouldn't be able to survive. Not long after that, she noticed that a gun and all of their money had been removed from their safe.

Afraid for her safety, she decamped with her kids to her parents' residence — and on March 8, she says Lindauer told her to keep the kids, even though he was scheduled to see them.

Her conclusion: Lindauer "was going to do something."

Cut to the wee hours of the next morning, when she was awakened by a neighbor, who revealed that her house was on fire.

Brianne has now shared a statement with 9News. It reads in part:
"While we are trying to deal with this tragedy we are asking for privacy at this time. At the core of this, the victims that matter are our 3 young children. We are trying to make sense of this but the knowledge that this was done at the hands of their father is really hard to comprehend. There have been many struggles in our marriage just like all marriages. Nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors. It's unfortunate that he would do this based on assumptions from my Facebook friends."
Look below to see a 7News report about the latest developments, followed by our previous coverage.
Update, 6:24 a.m. March 11: Yesterday, when we told you about a fire at an Arvada home scrawled with graffiti reading "My Wife Is a Cheater" (see our previous coverage below), we noted that law enforcers shouldn't have a tough time narrowing down a list of suspects who may have started the blaze.

And so it came to pass.

William Lindauer, the former husband of the woman who lived in the home, has been arrested on suspicion of arson and more. He's expected to make his first court appearance this morning.

Lindauer reportedly had no previous arrest history in Colorado, and his divorce initially seemed quite unremarkable.

His wife filed for divorce in late 2013, and it was granted the following February.

It's not yet known precisely what happened between then and now that led to such a bizarre crime. But there's no doubt about the effects, as seen in this photo taken by a neighbor:
According to 7News, the blaze began with an explosion that sent neighbors rushing to the property in search of the woman and her three children.

Fortunately, they weren't home at the time of the blast. However, one neighbor is said to have seen Lindauer in the yard as the flames accelerated.

When asked what had happened, Lindauer offered no answer.

We don't know yet if he'll speak in court, but he'll have plenty for which to answer.

An Arvada Police Department release shares investigator's belief that the fire was deliberately set.

Hence Lindauer's arrest on suspicion of first-degree arson, as well as reckless endangerment, criminal mischief, cruelty to animals and prohibited weapon use.

As for those messages, they've been covered over. But the house won't be inhabitable again for a long, long time.

Look below to see a full-sized version of Lindauer's mug shot, followed by our previous coverage.
Original post, 5:15 a.m. March 10: Overnight house fires are fairly commonplace in any metropolitan area.

But there was nothing typical about the blaze that struck a residence in one Arvada neighborhood a few short hours ago.

That's because the burning home was marked in multiple spots with graffiti announcing, "My wife is a cheater."

We're going out on a limb, but our guess is that investigators suspect arson.

The news release from the Arvada Fire Department makes no mention of the messages. It states:
At approximately 1:30 this morning crews responded to reports of an explosion and subsequent residential structure fire near 68 & Nelson. Crews faced heavy fire upon arrival. All occupants were accounted for and there were no reports of injuries. The fire is under investigation.
The AFD also included a trio of images from the scene, including this one....
...and this one....
...and this one:
However, more unusual images were tweeted from the scene by 9News' Noel Brennan. Here's one example....
...and a second featuring some additional information:
Also on hand was 7News' Tyler Lopez, who shared the image at the top of the post, as well as this one:
By the way, 9News reports that the graffiti includes the name of a person, which the station is prudently choosing not to broadcast.

As noted by the Arvada Fire Department, the investigation into the fire is ongoing — and we suspect it won't be hard to narrow down the list of suspects.

Update: Here's a video from the scene from 7News.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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