Neighbors of man facing arson charges file for protection orders
A judge granted temporary protection orders for the neighbors of a man charged with arson for allegedly leaving unattended slash piles burning after they accused him of violating the criminal protection order attached to his charges.
On Feb. 17, Tim and Laurie Pope filed for civil protection orders against Christopher Linsmayer, 68, after they say he drove past their property, violating the criminal protection order that requires Linsmayer to only be on his property in the Gorewood subdivision in Kremmling and with another person.
The Popes told Judge Nicholas Catanzarite that they had seen Linsmayer more than once outside his property in the neighborhood, adding they feel threatened by him.
“We have concerns about him and his irrational behavior,” Laurie Pope said. “He is not somebody we want close to us or our property because we don’t feel it’s safe for us.”
Linsmayer faces 12 counts of arson after police said he left burning slash piles unattended in October, just a few days after the explosion of the East Troublesome Fire while burn bans were in place.
According to the Grand County Sheriff’s Office, Linsmayer wasn’t on the property when fire crews responded to the burning slash piles, which firefighters had to hike to get to because a fire engine couldn’t make into the area due to snow.
Previously, Linsmayer was charged with arson for burning on a Red Flag day in August 2019, though he ultimately pleaded guilty to two violations of the county ordinance regarding burn permits.
He has also been blamed for the 2016 Gore Ridge Fire, which started on Linsmayer’s property, though he was never cited.
Citing Linsmayer’s history of illegal burning, the Popes told Catanzarite that Linsmayer was creating a dangerous environment. While Catanzarite agreed that Linsmayer’s fires posed a danger to the neighbors, the judge noted that Linsmayer has never threatened the Popes physically or verbally.
“I’m not so convinced there’s that imminent risk now simply by him being in the subdivision or driving past you,” Catanzarite said. “This isn’t a case where he’s assaulted you and the threat stems from him being near you to some extent. This is a case where the threat he poses is his proclivity, at least as you allege, for starting fires on his property that then threaten you.”
With that in mind, Catanzarite said he would grant temporary protection orders restricting Linsmayer from having any contact with the Popes and requiring that he stays at least 100 yard away from their property, which still allows Linsmayer to access his property in the Gorewood subdivision.
An attorney for Linsmayer didn’t respond to a request for comment. The temporary orders are set to remain in effect until the hearing for a permanent protection order on March 3.
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