Pet store owner facing added charges in arson case - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Pet store owner facing added charges in arson case

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Gloria Lee exits Las Vegas Justice Court on Feb. 5, 2014, after a judge ordered her to be placed under house arrest. (Armando Navarro/FOX5) Gloria Lee exits Las Vegas Justice Court on Feb. 5, 2014, after a judge ordered her to be placed under house arrest. (Armando Navarro/FOX5)
Supporters of Nevada Voters for Animals stand outside the Regional Justice Center in downtown Las Vegas during a hearing for Gloria Lee on Feb. 5, 2014. (Armando Navarro/FOX5) Supporters of Nevada Voters for Animals stand outside the Regional Justice Center in downtown Las Vegas during a hearing for Gloria Lee on Feb. 5, 2014. (Armando Navarro/FOX5)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

A judge ordered a pet store owner accused of setting fire to her shop to house arrest and the surrender of her passport Wednesday during a hearing closely observed by animal advocates.

Gloria Lee appeared in Las Vegas Justice Court for a status check, her first court appearance since being arrested in her arson case.

Lee was charged with first-degree arson and conspiracy to commit arson tied to a fire at the Prince and Princess Puppies and Boutique on Jan. 27.

Documents also showed Lee and accused co-conspirator, Kirk Bills, were charged with 29 additional counts, including 27 for attempted animal cruelty as well as burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary.

According to Las Vegas Metro police, 27 puppies were inside the shop when it was set ablaze, but all of the canines were able to be saved.

During Lee's status check, state attorneys requested a motion to raise her bail to $400,000, citing a prior criminal record. The judge scheduled a hearing Friday to review the motion.

The judge also ordered Lee to surrender her passport, citing her ties overseas.

The hearing was being closely watched by animal advocates, who rallied since dawn Wednesday. Nevada Political Action for Animals said it wants the maximum penalty against Lee.

Ahead of the hearing, revelations came to light about Lee, who, police said, was caught on surveillance video with a man while 27 puppies were trapped inside.

Lee has a criminal background dating to 1998, raising questions about how she was able to obtain a business license to operate the pet store in the first place.

"When you see something like this that is so extreme, it's obvious that a mistake occurred by giving her a business license," FOX5 legal analyst Bob Massi said.

Clark County's Business License Department said Lee obtained a license for the shop in 2010. Court records obtained by FOX5 showed she was charged in 2008 for depriving animals of medical care and failing to vaccinate them. The case was dismissed when Lee provided proper documentation.

That wasn't the only time Lee was in trouble with the law.

Lee pleaded guilty to insurance fraud in 1998. She was indicted on one count of forgery.

In 2001, Lee was sentenced to seven months in prison for failing to turn herself in to the courts for another, unknown crime.

According to the state of Alaska's Department of Revenue, Lee committed insurance fraud in that state, defrauding the state's Permanent Fund Dividend Division of more than $71,000.

"Maybe this is an example why there should be some type of background investigation or something that has something on there, asking, ‘Have you been convicted of a crime?'" Massi said.

FOX5 left a message for Lee's attorney on Tuesday evening but our call was not immediately returned.

Lee appeared in court Wednesday accompanied by a man who was identified as her estranged husband as well as members of her family.

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