BEATRICE – A Beatrice man who has spent nearly a year in Gage County Jail charged in a west Beatrice residential fire…will serve a three-year-probation term.
31-year-old Andres Lacen-Boria was sentenced by Gage County District Judge Rick Schreiner, on convictions of third-degree arson and criminal mischief, both felonies.

Lacen-Boria appeared in court Tuesday with an interpreter and told the judge he understood the terms of the sentence. The judge ordered him to pay restitution of $2,361 to the victims of the fire which happened along West Mary Street. He will be allowed to make restitution in $200 monthly payments.

Judge Schreiner noted Lacen-Boria had no criminal history. "You have walked the planet long enough to have accumulated a criminal history....if that's what you were....a criminal. You don't have a criminal history at all. I don't understand what happened here. It doesn't appear to be typical of your behavior, nor does it reflect your character."

Schreiner said the facts of the case were disturbing and involved significant damage and interruption to lives.  A probation evaluation showed Lacen-Boria…who has eleven siblings in Puerto Rico, Texas, North Carolina, Florida...did not appear to need substance abuse treatment...and appeared to be managing on his own.

"One of the victims in this matter, when asked what sort of punishment they would like to see....said they would like for the young man to receive help."

Lacen-Boria was taken into custody, April 30th, of 2023…shortly after Beatrice Firefighters were sent to a garage fire in the 900-block of West Mary. A state fire investigator determined the fire had been intentionally set with the use of gasoline poured along the east wall of the garage, inside a trash can and near a grill.

Two doors to the garage had been broken into.  Shoe prints were found on the doors, matching those worn by Lacen-Boria. While the fire was being investigated, police and sheriff’s officers had in custody a man who had been observed running in that area just before the fire. Lacen-Boria was arrested about a block away from the fire.

The couple who resides there were not at home when the fire started… at 11:17 a.m. on a Sunday.  Flames reached into the attic, but not into the living area of the home.  Firefighters had the flames under control in about 20 minutes.