ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. — Deputies conducted a welfare check on a man hours before he allegedly set fire to a home in Adams County, according to his arrest affidavit.
Court documents state two deputies with the Adams County Sheriff's Office were called out for a wellness check at a home in the 7800 block of Zuni Street around 9:15 p.m. on Jan. 2.
After a two-week trip, the roommate came home and found Augustus Schneider, 34, "had woken up and was frantic," according to court documents. Schneider was "freaking out" because he could not find matching socks, the affidavit reads.
The roommate noted that Schneider was "scratching himself everywhere and twitching a lot." When the roommate tried to talk to Schneider, he said he had been kidnapped and was told to make a makeshift bomb, according to the affidavit.
According to court documents, Schneider told the two deputies he and a female friend were kidnapped in Denver around Dec. 17. They were put into a van and brought back to Schneider's house, where they were tied to chairs, Schneider told authorities. He said the suspects searched the house for "paperwork pertaining to human trafficking," according to the affidavit.
Once the suspects completed their search, Schneider said they locked him and his friend in the upstairs bathroom. The friend was able to remove the looser hinge pin and open the door, according to Schneider.
At one point, Schneider said he found an improvised explosive device outside of the bathroom door. He told the deputies he picked it up and threw it in the trash can.
Schneider only reported the incident when his roommate returned home, according to court documents. The roommate told deputies he was in town during Schneider's alleged abduction and after returning home from his trip, he found a destroyed shower curtain in the upstairs bathroom, the affidavit states.
The roommate told authorities he thought Schneider "may have ingested an unknown drug or was having a mental issue," according to court documents.
Schneider denied being homicidal or suicidal. He also denied consuming any narcotics, according to court documents. When asked if he wanted to be taken to a local hospital to talk with mental health professionals, Schneider declined, the affidavit states.
The deputies believed Schneider "did not meet the requirement to be placed on a mental health hold" and left the residence, according to the affidavit.
Investigators suspect arson in Adams Co. fire that killed dogs, injured person
Around 1:57 a.m. on Jan. 3, one of the deputies was dispatched to a burglary in progress in the 2400 block of Valley View Drive. The homeowner reported that a white man with long blonde hair, no shirt and gray sweatpants had broken in. The responding deputy noted that the description matched that of Schneider.
The homeowner said she was asleep in her room when she heard rustling outside. She didn't think much of it until she heard glass breaking, court documents state.
According to the affidavit, the homeowner went into her kitchen to investigate and saw a man trying to break into her home through the kitchen door that leads to the backyard. She screamed at the man, but he made his way inside.
The homeowner grabbed a lacrosse stick and screamed at the suspect to get out. According to court documents, the man grabbed a knife from the woman's kitchen knife set and started walking towards her living room. The homeowner backed up, trying to get away from the man, when he started "waving the knife back and forth, motioning towards" her, according to the affidavit.
The homeowner locked herself in her bathroom and called 911. By the time authorities arrived, the man was gone.
Around 2:06 a.m., the sheriff's office received a call of another burglary in progress on 80th Avenue east of Federal Boulevard. The suspect's description again matched that of Schneider.
Jennifer Jensen and her 13-year-old son, Zaide Taul, were home when a man allegedly threw a rock through the window and broke into the house. The mother and son ran to their basement and listened as the suspect moved around the house.
Their home had a basement door that led to the outside and they fled from the house, hopped over a fence, and pounded on a neighbor's door for help, they told Denver7.
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Help Adams County family after man allegedly breaks in, sets house on fire
Adams County deputies and Adams County Fire arrived at the scene around the same time that the mother and son noticed smoke coming from the house.
“I was yelling to the firefighters, 'Our dogs are in there,'" Jensen said.
A deputy ran to the backyard and saw Schneider "throwing liquid around" in the laundry room, which is located in the basement. He also had a knife in his hand, according to court documents.
Schneider kept moving from the laundry room to another room outside of the deputy's sight. After five minutes, the deputy saw the basement fill with black smoke, the affidavit states.
Firefighters broke through the front door around 2:32 a.m. to extinguish the fire. Inside the home, they found Schneider unconscious on the basement floor. He was taken to the hospital for possible smoke inhalation and burns.
Ultimately, the family’s pets, Roxy and Marseille, were killed in the fire.
Investigators believe the fire started from the stove in the basement. Authorities found a frying pan with a burnt book inside of it. The Adams County Fire Department determined that the home was not safe for human occupancy due to the extent of the damage.
Schneider was arrested for first-degree arson, first-degree burglary, two counts of aggravated animal cruelty and felony menacing.
Denver7 launched a Denver7 Gives to support Jensen and her son. If you would like to donate, visit Denver7 Gives and select "Help Adams Co. Family After Home Destroyed In Fire" from the drop-down menu.