Arrests made in alleged burglary, arson

- A New Smyrna Beach house stood in flames, early Wednesday morning. Deputies arrested David Debenedictis and Angela Halcomb for arson, burglary, and theft. Sheriff Mike Chitwood didn't hold back.

“The guy's a career criminal, he's a career scumbag,” Chitwood said, “he's going to do everything he can to stay out of jail. Hopefully this is the one he never sees the light of day again.”

Investigators say a safe inside the house was cut open and guns, jewelry, and cash were stolen. Two trailers were also missing from the property, as well as an industrial grill. When deputies found Halcomb driving a stolen vehicle on Thursday, it also led them to Debenedictis' house, turning up thousands of dollars’ worth of stolen property.

“Right here alone, there's probably $150,000 worth of stolen equipment - if not more,” Chitwood said, “we can't give you a number yet on the jewelry, at least 16 firearms we recovered.”

The investigation also revealed Debenedictis injured himself while breaking into the safe and set the fire to destroy evidence.

“Rather than clean up the blood, he thought it would be easier to dump gallons of gasoline all over it and just torch it,” Chitwood said.

Joe Casanova is one of the many victims already turning up to claim a stolen trailer. He says they didn't even know someone took it.

“The sheriff called and said they found a trailer here in New Smyrna, asked me if it's mine,” Casanova said, “we didn't even have time to register it, it's a brand new trailer.”

Sheriff Chitwood said the next task is to find out who owns all the stolen goods and return them to their rightful owners.
 

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