Two Charged in Connection with July Home Explosion

October 24, 2011 Updated Oct 24, 2011 at 7:49 PM EDT

By WKBW Internet

October 24, 2011 Updated Oct 24, 2011 at 7:49 PM EDT

TOWN OF NIAGARA, NY (WKBW) - The Niagara County Sheriff's Department has announced two arrests stemming from an explosion that destroyed a Military Road home on July 20.

Sheriff Jim Voutour says that 37-year-old Eric S. Waterstram of Niagara Falls and 28-year-old Crystal D. Knepp of Newfane have been charged with Burglary 2nd, a class C Felony, Criminal Mischief 2nd, a class D Felony and misdemeanor Petit Larceny.

Investigators say the pair broke into the home the night before or in the early morning hours of July 20 to steal copper piping from the basement to sell for scrap.

In the process of striping the tubing, a natural gas pipe was also disconnected, allowing the flow of natural gas throughout the home.

After about 16 hours, the house at 3225 Military Road erupted in a violent explosion, setting a nearby business on fire and causing over $100,000 in damage to the property itself.

One man was injured when flying debris smashed his vehicle window while passing by.

Police say the accused have been in trouble with the law before for stealing copper piping near Niagara Falls.

Waterstram is being held on $25,000 bail, while Knepp is being held on $10,000 bail.

They are due in court on November 3 at 6:00 p.m. in the Town of Niagara court.