CRESTVIEW — A small fire at the Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce office in late August has become an investigation involving three law enforcement agencies.
The Crestview Police Department is investigating a burglary, the State Fire Marshal an arson and the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office a theft.
“It is an active investigation and the investigator says it is a time-consuming one,” said Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Michele Nicholson.
The first two investigations, the burglary and arson, began Aug. 27, shortly after a Crestview police officer answering an alarm call arrived to find a Chamber employee leaving by the front door. In addition, the officer learned that a back door had been tampered with. Inside were documents consumed by a small fire on the office’s kitchen floor.
The fire was quickly put out and caused an estimated $300 damage.
Crestview Police Department Commander Andrew Schneider said the agency had named no suspects in the burglary and that leads were scarce.
The Sheriff’s Office became involved in the fire investigation Aug. 31. While Crestview’s investigation involves burglary, defined on the website FindLaw as “the unlawful entry into a structure, such as a home of business,” the Sheriff’s Office investigation is focusing on theft, which FindLaw defines as “an unauthorized taking of property.”
The investigations coincide with a number of changes at the Crestview chamber. Valerie Lott, the former Chamber president and CEO, no longer leads the organization; and the office no longer has paid positions. It is fully staffed by volunteers.