- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 27, 2016

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A veteran Las Vegas police K-9 officer is denying that he burned his recreational vehicle trailer in January for insurance money.

Defense attorney Andrew Leavitt said Wednesday that Jeff Lynn Harper, 36, removed a flat tire from the parked toy-hauler along a Nevada highway and drove to Pahrump to repair it when fire destroyed the trailer and an all-terrain vehicle inside.

“Somebody torched the trailer,” Leavitt said. “He didn’t do it.”

Harper was current on payments for the trailer and the ATV, Leavitt added, suggesting that he wouldn’t have any motive to destroy them.

State Attorney General Adam Laxalt said fire investigators determined the fire had been set, and he blamed Harper.

Charges filed Monday accuse Harper of insurance fraud, theft, attempted theft and arson. A conviction could get Harper decades in prison and put him on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars in restitution.

A Las Vegas judge on Wednesday set a June 1 preliminary hearing. Harper remains free on bond.

Harper joined the department in September 1999, a Las Vegas police spokeswoman said. He will be suspended without pay pending the outcome of the criminal case, she said.

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