A judge sent multiple charges to a Stafford grand jury Wednesday after hearing a recorded conversation in which a former police officer discussed burning down the county's public safety building.

Cassie C. Crisano, 37, of Stafford is charged with attempted arson, soliciting a felony, forgery, obtaining money by false pretenses and other counts. Judge Bruce Strickland sent the case to a grand jury following a preliminary hearing Wednesday in Stafford General District Court.

In a phone call Strickland listened to before certifying the charges, Crisano seemed particularly upset about a safe that had been seized from her home by police. She told a former friend in the recorded call that they'd both be in big trouble if they didn't find a way to get rid of a book that was in that safe.

"The only way to get rid of the book is to get rid of the building," Crisano said in the recording.

According to evidence presented by prosecutors Tara Mooney and Ryan Fitzgerald, deputies went to Crisano's home on Cannon Ridge Drive on May 28 for a reported break-in and larceny.

Detective Ed McCullough said Crisano, a former police officer in Prince George's County, Md., reported the theft of a number of items, including guns, electronics, a police vest and duty belt and her son's vehicle.

Crisano later received a $20,000 check from Allstate Insurance to compensate her for the losses, McCullough said.

The Sheriff's Office didn't realize that anything was amiss until August, when Crisano's former friend, Terry Linton, made allegations to police about insurance fraud. Linton, a fraud investigator for Navy Federal Credit Union, came forward after he was arrested in Frederick County on a charge of soliciting a child on the Internet.

Officers raided Cristano's home on Aug. 31 and found a number of items that authorities said had been reported stolen. Among the items seized was a safe that contained various identifications with Crisano's picture and other peoples' names, authorities said.

Those names belonged to people who were customers of Navy Federal, where Linton worked, authorities allege.

Detective Kurt McBride was with Linton in Harrisonburg when Crisano called Linton on Sept. 3, three days after she was released on bond. Crisano was unaware that Linton had made allegations to authorities about insurance fraud and was now working for the police.

"I don't think you realize how bad things are," Crisano said on the recorded call. "It's coming down hard if you don't fix it."

Crisano then discussed a plan that involved throwing Molotov cocktails into the public safety building in an effort to burn it down, along with all the evidence inside. Part of the plan involved setting fire to a field a couple of miles away to divert firefighters from her primary target.

Crisano didn't sound overly confident when Linton questioned the soundness of the plan. "I can't give you a guarantee on anything. But it has to be done," she said.

When Crisano showed up at the Days Inn on Warrenton Road later that evening to discuss the details further with Linton, she was arrested by deputies and has been in custody ever since. She had latex gloves and a gasoline can in her vehicle when she was arrested, authorities said.

Crisano's attorney, Jason Pelt, questioned why neither her fiancé, a Pentagon police officer, nor Linton have been charged in connection with the Stafford case. Pelt said there was no way Crisano could have pulled off the alleged fraud without someone else's help and/or knowledge.

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Keith Epps: 540/374-5404


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