Jake and Kendra Warrum may well have qualified for Schmuck of the Week status based enitrely on an alleged plan to burn down their house for insurance money. But they became locks for this week's nod because they apparently allowed neighbors to collect money -- a lot of money -- to help them make a fresh start after a tragedy police believe they caused themselves.
According to KKTV in Colorado Springs, Warrum is (or at least was) a staff sergeant based at Fort Carson and assigned to the 71st ordinance group, a unit that specializes in explosives -- meaning he has more than a little experience with flammable stuff. In addition, he's said to own a "side business that manufactures holsters for guns."
Business may not have been all that great. An arrest affidavit obtained by the Colorado Springs Gazette maintains that Warrum increased the insurance coverage on his home, located at 7568 Chasewood Loop, in the days before the structure went up in flames.
Afterward, the Warrums' neighbors pitched in to help out the young couple. KKTV estimates that approximately $1,000 was raised -- a total that included the savings of several kids who are said to have contributed the contents of their piggy banks.
Bet investigators wish they'd been able to warn them against handing over their pennies in advance. KRDO-TV reveals that the house smelled of gasoline when firefighters arrived on the scene. They subsequently found two fuel containers that didn't have to be emblazoned with a label reading "Arson Evidence" to get the cops' thoughts headed in that direction.
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The noose tightened thanks to a surveillance camera that captured footage of a truck driving past the house shortly before the fire got started -- and the vehicle matched one Warrum had borrowed from a buddy ID'd by the Gazette as Ty Kludt, another Fort Carson soldier.
Well, maybe "buddy" is too strong a term, as you'll see.
The Warrums had told police they'd been camping when their house ignited, but the cops had their doubts; Jake told them they'd slept in a tent, while Kendra, quizzed separately, said they'd bunked in their car. And these suspicions were affirmed when Kludt reportedly reached out to say Warrum had offered him between $5,000 and $10,000 to say the truck had been either sold or stolen.
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Rather than taking the money, Kludt cooperated with police by luring Jake into a conversation in which the latter allegedly confessed to causing the conflagration.
Hence, the Warrums' arrest -- him on suspicion of arson and an attempt to bribe a witness, her on a conspiracy beef.
We'd add a charge of making it difficult for a bunch of kids to ever trust a grownup again. Here are the booking photos of Jake and Kendra, followed by a KRDO-TV report.