Man arrested in connection to local arson cases appears in court

John Roth, 38
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JESSAMINE COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - One of two people arrested in connection to a string of arson cases in central Kentucky had his first court appearance Wednesday.

John Roth is charged with receiving stolen property. He entered a not guilty plea on that charge in Jessamine District Court on Wednesday morning.

Police say Roth committed the crimes while on parole stemming from charges of Arson, 3rd degree. He was given a five-year sentence out of Jefferson County for those crimes.

Kentucky State Police arrested Roth on Tuesday after they say he tried to pawn items stolen from a burned home on Jacks Creek Pike in Madison County earlier this week.

Sam's Gold & Pawn works with police to make sure any stolen items aren't sold.

Kevin Mashni, Sam's Gold & Pawn owner, said, "When I submit the report it's just a description of what I took in and then they come up and look at it to try to identify it. The victims came with them yesterday to identify it. That's how they identified what it was."

The Madison County home is one of six homes targeted by burglars that Kentucky State Police say were then intentionally set on fire.

The owner of that home said he believes whoever broke in was more concerned with setting the fire than with stealing from the home.

"It would have taken longer for them to set the fires in the house than to take the stuff they took," Jim Westenhoefer said.

He said the arrest has brought relief to him and his neighbors.

"Most of what I feel right now is anger but I can't help but believe to some extent there something not right with him," he said.

Police have not charged Roth with arson. They plan to present their evidence to a grand jury first.

They did charge a juvenile with arson in the case.