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House fires The owners used cardboard soaked in candle oil to start one of the fires. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The Lesters were a well-known family in parts of Southern West Virginia, especially patriarch Windel Lester, who sat on the board of a local bank. He also owned a hardware store and sold mobile homes.

Windel thought big, as community pillars should, except he slid off the railroad tracks of respectability. Windel decided that burning homes for insurance money would be his next business venture. The whole clan joined the effort. They burned down three homes and tried to walk away with more than $556,000 of insurance money.

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