Owner of burned down billiard shop frustrated with arson investigation

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A Lancaster County Billiard supply store owner had his store robbed and then burned to the ground. Eight months later he is frustrated that police have still not found a suspect.

Lance DeVaul said he has been devastated since he lost his Manor Township location of his store, Billiards Plus. “Our place was broken into and our store was burned to cover up the theft,” said DeVaul.

Police ruled the cause of the fire was arson but no one has been arrested. The person took thousands of dollars worth of pool supplies. DeVaul thought some of the stolen items would lead police to the culprit.

“I even told the detective working, I said the only way you are going to find out who did is when the cues start arising,” said DeVaul. While the pool cues do not have serial numbers DeVaul said they are rare and easy to identify. “One cue was worth $3500 by itself,” said DeVaul who said he has been doing his own investigating. He believes that he knows who took the pool cues and said he has even caught the person with them. “My wife seen his case, and we looked in and they were sticking out so we pulled them out and took pictures of them,” said DeVaul. He said police haven’t taken the information seriously and he feels the investigation has stalled.

“We’ve done all of the foot work. We have gone everywhere, we went to pool rooms, we gave out pictures of everything we had,” said DeVaul.

FOX43 contacted Manor Township Police, which is where the fire occurred. The Detective working on the case said the incident is still being investigated and something like this can take time. The Detective said because of the ongoing investigation she could not comment further.

Earlier story
Flames and explosions destroyed a 10,000 square foot building in Manor Township, Lancaster County early Thursday morning. A large part of the building housed Billiards Plus, a pool table sales and repair shop.

Billiards Plus Owner Lance DeVaul has a lot to deal with. A phone call in the middle of the night woke him up to tell him his business was on fire. He’s still getting phone calls, but now they’re from customers asking about their pool tables.

“Yes I remember that,” he told one customer. “That’s crisperized right now.”

Blue Rock Fire and Rescue Chief Duane Hagelgans said the fire broke out around 2:30 a.m. Witnesses reported hearing four small explosions inside the building. Hagelgans said those were from a truck inside the building holding propane tanks. No one was hurt, but it made for a very dangerous situation for firefighters.

“The issue with propane explosions like that is that it’s like any other explosive,” he said. “So you have shrapnel, when it blows up, you have the metal shrapnel from the tank can go and it can obviously hurt or injure firefighters.”

With the fire out, DeVaul looks to salvage anything from inside, but he’s not optimistic. He estimates there were more than 50 pool tables, 400 cues and countless supplies inside.

“The smell is always there, the soot,” he said. “Some of the finishes were melted off, so it’s like total destruction.”

DeVaul rents the space in the building. He hopes to find another location and get back to business, which he moved from New York seven years ago. But at this point, he doesn’t know when.

“This is devastating right now,” he said.

A state fire marshal is investigating the cause of the fire.