Housekeeper starts fire to cover up $160 theft, police say

Coconut Creek apartment declared 'total loss' after fire


COCONUT CREEK, Fla. – A housekeeper started a fire at a Coconut Creek apartment complex to cover up a theft she'd committed, Coconut Creek police said.

Janette Pacheco admitted that she'd stolen $160 from an apartment in Victoria Place, located inside the Wynmoor Community, at about 9:40 a.m. Saturday, and started the fire to cover it up, police said. 

The fire was contained to one residence, which was declared a total loss, the Margate-Coconut Creek Fire Department said. 

"Crews arrived to heavy black smoke and flames coming from the back of the fourth-floor apartment," Division Chief Ty Vassil said.

High heat prevented crews from entering building with a portable water can. Instead, crews made a portable hydrant that reached the fourth floor of the building and firefighters went to a back bedroom to put out the fire, Vassil said.

An investigation led detectives and the state fire marshal to Pacheco. 

Pacheco has been arrested on charges of arson to an occupied structure.