Nappanee Woman Arrested For Involvement In Kosciusko County Barn Fires
By Liz Shepherd
NAPPANEE — A warrant for a Nappanee woman who allegedly set three barns on fire in Kosciusko County has been served.
Sherry Lynn Thomas, 33, 556 W. Market St., Nappanee, is charged with three counts of arson, all level 4 felonies.
On April 26, 2021, a barn fire was reported in Milford, with total damages around $100,000. Two barn fires also occurred in the Nappanee area on June 10, 2021, with damages for both totaling $36,850. All three fires were deemed suspicious in nature by responding emergency personnel.
While investigating multiple barn fires in their jurisdiction, Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office investigators were able to determine a phone number associated with Thomas was near the location of multiple barn fires prior to their occurrence. They also discovered an association between Thomas and Joseph D. Hershberger, Nappanee. A warrant was issued for Hershberger’s arrest for the Kosciusko County incidents in November 2022.
On Nov. 30, 2021, ECSO investigators executed search warrants on Thomas’s and Hershberger’s residences, vehicles, and electronic devices.
During the investigation, Thomas said she believed she and Hershberger were responsible for the fires which occurred in Milford and Nappanee.
Through the execution of search warrants, Elkhart County investigators compiled geo fence data and Google location services data, discovering Thomas’s electronic devices were in close proximity to the Milford and Nappanee barn fires just prior to their occurrences.
Thomas and Hershberger have both been sentenced for their involvement in setting eight barns on fire in Elkhart County in 2021. Thomas received a 10-year sentence, with eight years to be served through Michiana Community Corrections and two years suspended on probation. Hershberger received 50 years in prison and 46 years on parole.
The two are also facing charges for starting a fire at a Bremen school. Thomas has a status conference for this case on April 27. Hershberger has a status conference on June 22.