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August 20, 2014

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Woman accused of burning pet store faces new charges

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Steve Marcus

Defense attorney Thomas Pitaro speaks with pet shop owner Gloria Lee at the Regional Justice Center Wednesday, March 12, 2014. Lee and co-defendant Kirk Bills pleaded not guilty to charges of torching the pet shop where 27 puppies were rescued, and a judge rejected a bid for lower bail.

Suspects in Pet Shop Fire Plead Not Guilty

Pet shop owner Gloria Lee appears in court at the Regional Justice Center Wednesday, March 12, 2014. Lee and co-defendant Kirk Bills pleaded not guilty to charges of torching the pet shop where 27 puppies were rescued, and a judge rejected a bid for lower bail. Launch slideshow »

Rescued Puppies

Yorkshire terrier puppies look out from a kennel at the Animal Foundation Campus, 655 N. Mojave Road, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. The puppies were rescued during a fire at the Prince and Princess Pet Shop on Jan. 27. Launch slideshow »

A woman accused of setting fire to her Las Vegas pet store full of puppies was indicted today on several new charges, including insurance fraud.

A Clark County grand jury also indicted shop owner Gloria Lee on one count each of arson with intent to defraud an insurer and attempted theft.

The new charges are in addition to 31 criminal counts, including first-degree arson, conspiracy to commit arson, 27 counts of attempted cruelty to animals, conspiracy to commit burglary and burglary.

Lee, 35, and her alleged co-conspirator, Kirk Bills, 27, have both pleaded not guilty to those 31 original charges.

The fire broke out shortly before 1 a.m. Jan. 27 at the Prince and Princesses Pet Shop at 6870 S. Rainbow Boulevard, near Spring Mountain Road. Automatic sprinklers extinguished most of the fire, and 27 dogs, most of them puppies, were rescued by responding Clark County firefighters.

Surveillance video captured the store owner with another man pouring gasoline throughout the store and setting the fire, authorities said.

Most of the dogs were placed in new homes through a raffle by the Animal Foundation, which took them in after the fire. Two older dogs were being cared for by A Home 4 Spot, a private animal rescue group.

The new charges against Lee prompted Clark County District Judge Linda Bell to raise her bail from $310,000 to $340,000.

Bills remains in Clark County Detention Center on a $310,000 bail.

Judge David Barker has set a trial for July 14.

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