Rifle police bring closure to arson case
Unsolved crimes can frustrate and torment a community. Questions always arise with crimes like the Sept. 5, 2005, arson fires in Rifle. Questions like who was responsible and will it happen again.On Friday, April 7, seven months after the arson fires shocked the region, a man is behind bars.The Rifle Police Department spearheaded the investigation, joining forces with a number of local, state and federal agencies.Arson fires are difficult to solve; especially when months pass and leads grow cold. But Rifle Police kept the case high on the priority list, culminating in the arrest of 46-year-old Robin Jay Clifton, of Collbran.Clifton is accused of setting two devastating fires and another two that didn’t take. In all, he’s facing 13 felony charges.It’s now up to the 9th Judicial District to get a conviction based on the evidence compiled in the case.For David Valencia, who saw his Amoco service station destroyed, and Ava and Jack Bowles, who saw their bowling alley nearly destroyed, the arrest of Clifton will start to bring some closure to a very difficult time in their lives.For other residents, the arrest helps brings a little peace of mind that a suspected arsonist is now in jail.The Rifle Police Department needs to be congratulated for its unrelenting pursuit to solve this crime.Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario put it best when praising the Rifle PD: “They did a good job. This is a good feather in their cap.”Rifle Police Chief Daryl Meisner had compared the case to a “2,000-piece jigsaw puzzle.”A community can breathe a sigh of relief now that questions are giving way to answers.This is one puzzle that took a while but came together and closed the book on the fears and torment of many residents.
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