A Hurricane businessman has been arrested on charges including arson—accused of torching his own boat in an effort to defraud his insurance company.  

Just after midnight on the morning of November 6, 2022, Washington County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a report of a boat and trailer fire in a remote area in Warner Valley, south of Hurricane City.

Campers told responding officers they saw a Ford truck pulling a boat, and later, the same truck leaving without the boat, just before noticing the fire.

Deputies learned the boat and trailer was registered to a Hurricane company called Utah Epic Rentals LLC owned by 49 year old Joseph Brad Arave. The boat and trailer had an estimated value of $100,000 dollars.

When deputies contacted Arave to inquire about the boat, he claimed he didn’t know it was missing and claimed that someone must have stolen it.

Deputies later learned that Arave was pulled over in a rental truck and cited for speeding by a Hurricane Police Officer shortly after the fire was reported. The Hurricane officer was unaware that the truck was involved in the fire at that time, but noticed Arave was very nervous during the stop.

Detectives took over the case and discovered that after the fire, Arave submitted an insurance claim for around $100,000 dollars for the boat and trailer.  Detectives were able to track down the rental truck used by Arave and using forensic software, accessed computer data from the Ford truck containing dates, times, and GPS locations during the time that Arave had rented the vehicle.  The data showed the truck was driven to the scene of the fire, stopped for several minutes, then left the scene without stopping until the Hurricane PD made the traffic stop.

Upon Arave’s arrest, officers found a substance which tested positive for methamphetamine.  Utah investigators also learned of an outstanding felony warrant for fraud in California.

Arave was booked into the Purgatory Correctional Facility on the following charges:

Arson with intent to defraud an insurer - 2nd Degree Felony

Possession of a Schedule I and II controlled substance - Class A Misdemeanor

Providing false information to law enforcement officers - Class B Misdemeanor

Writing a false statement - Class B Misdemeanor

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