SNOWMASS VILLAGE - Police say a Snowmass Village man set fire to a garage in retaliation for a prank.
Officers responded to the fire in a home on Stallion Circle early Saturday morning.
Police talked with several people who were outside the home when they responded. One witness told officers Stephen Elmore began yelling at him, shoved him and accused him of drawing male genitalia on his face.
Another person intervened and Elmore went downstairs to his bedroom which is next to the garage. Elmore went back upstairs to apologize but was told to leave. About 10 minutes later everyone in the residence smelled smoke and discovered the fire.
According to the affidavit, another witness told police, he "knew" Elmore had started the fire and kicked him out of the house. Elmore was not there when officers arrived but was spotted by officers walking nearby wearing socks but no shoes. He was stumbling and slurring his speech according to officers.
Police questioned the homeowner, who admitted to officers that she drew "balls" on Elmore's face with a marker while he was passed out in the living room. She told officers when Elmore woke up and discovered the "artwork" on his face he blamed another guest. She says she told Elmore that she had drawn the images.
The homeowner told police she and the other guests first tried to "put out the fire by stomping on it." They eventually retrieved water and extinguished it themselves. She estimated that flames were "3 to 4 feet in height." She told police she believed Elmore had set the fire because "everybody else in the residence was upstairs with her" and the garage could not be opened from the outside.
Police questioned Elmore, who "repeatedly denied started the fire". He told them he was asleep at home, woke up and discovered the penises drawn on his face. He told officers he got dressed and left the residence.
Elmore continued to deny he started the fire, but said he was upset that he woke up to male genitalia "drawn on his face."
"Can you just work with me, bro? I was thinking irrationally," he told the officer.
When the officer pointed out inconsistencies in his story Elmore told the officer, "I had no intention of burning the house down or anything. If we could just put this in the past I would really appreciate it."
When asked what started it, he told the officer, "it was just like by her.. drawing penises on my face."
He later backtracked and denied starting the fire.
Elmore was arrested for third-degree arson.
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