Jury convicts scrap metal thief who set off Everett blast

EVERETT — A Snohomish County jury has convicted the would-be scrap metal thief who lit up a cigarette after he cut a natural gas line inside an empty Everett house.

The man faces a prison sentence. He also could face hundreds of thousands of dollars in restitution for the damage caused by the explosion that followed his ill-timed cigarette break.

The incident happened April 3 at a vacant house in the 1200 block of 41st Street. The man was accused of cutting copper pipes in the basement for scrap metal. He hit a natural gas line. Then, he lit a cigarette.

The house exploded. Windows shattered and the front door was blown off. The man was not seriously injured, except for some singed eyelashes.

Jurors this week convicted him of second-degree burglary and first-degree reckless burning.

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