Arson suspect faces 5 charges

Published 8:09 pm Monday, April 11, 2011

LAKE MILLS, Iowa — The 46-year-old man charged with arson for allegedly setting a van and a house on fire last Thursday in Lake Mills now faces a total of five counts tied to the incident.

Larry Smit

In addition to two felony counts of arson and one citation for interference with police already filed, Larry Dick Smit, of Lake Mills, now faces a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor, after authorities reportedly found multiple syringes, a wooden dugout used to hold marijuana, a pocketknife with a black tar-like residue and a spoon with residue during a walk-through of the crime scene, 102 N. Fourth Ave. W in Lake Mills.

Winnebago County District Court documents state the items were found in the house belonging to Smit.

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He also faces an additional count of interfering with the official acts of a firefighter. According to court records, Smit threatened bodily injury to the Lake Mills fire chief.

Smit was arrested after authorities received a call just before 11 a.m. Thursday of a fire at the house, which is on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Lake Street.

By the time firefighters arrived, the house and a Plymouth Voyager minivan were engulfed in flames.

Firefighters reportedly encountered Smit, who was described as “a man who was disturbed” and who would not let them fight the fire.

After police arrived at the scene, Smit was subdued with a Taser and arrested.

According to court documents, Smit reportedly later asked police how many years he was going to have to serve in prison for setting the house and van on fire.

Court records also state witnesses reportedly saw Smit put gasoline on the van and then set it on fire.

Ron Langfald of Lake Mills, the owner of the house, told the Tribune last week that Smit was a former tenant who was living in the camper next to the home. Smit was remodeling the home and working for Langfald.

Look to the Tribune for more about this story as it becomes available.