Van missing after fire at home in Johnson County found, police say

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FRANKLIN, Ind. – A van that was discovered missing after a house fire in Johnson County has been found.

The fire broke out at a home in the 2500 block of North Graham Road between Commerce Drive and Earlywood Drive in Franklin. Crews were dispatched around 4:50 a.m.

Flames and smoke could be seen coming from the home, which was fully engulfed.

According to Johnson County dispatchers, no one was inside the home at the time of the fire. The Franklin Fire Department is taking the lead at the scene with other local fire departments providing assistance.

Franklin police said the homeowners are out of town because they go to Florida during the winter.

The Johnson County Sheriff's Office is also investigating the theft of a van. A vehicle belonging to the homeowners was missing from a building at the rear of the residence. The vehicle is a blue 1999 Pontiac Montana van with Indiana license plate D869MX, police said.

Police found it in Franklin late Wednesday morning. Investigators believe the van may have been stolen from the house a few days ago. The thieves may have gone back to the home to steal additional items or burn evidence.

CBS4 talked to Pauline Wells, who lives in the home with her husband, Forrest. They're heading back to Indianapolis Wednesday after being notified about the fire and van theft.

"And it is interesting to me that anybody would need to steal a 1998 Plymouth, or Pontiac Montana. You know, that’s desperate if you need a car like that," Wells told CBS4.

Well said she didn't know who would break into the house and set it on fire, but she assumed it would be someone who is aware that she and her husband leave for Florida during the winter.

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