Man arrested in Lake County arsons to make first appearance Friday

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A suspect accused of starting a series of arsons in Lake County will go before a judge Friday.

Beginning in February, a joint task force of sheriff's detectives, state fire marshals, Lake County Fire Rescue investigators, and local police departments launched an investigation into a string of fires, believed to have been were intentionally set around North Lake County.

Over a nearly two-week period, four vehicles, a convenient store, a restaurant, two structures, and a dumpster were set on fire, authorities said.

"During the course of the investigation, information was developed that led detectives to believe that James Anthony Bennett, 48, of Altoona, was possibly involved," said Lt. John Herrell, with the Lake County Sheriff's Office.  "Further information was received earlier this week that led to detectives' applying for and obtaining a warrant today for Bennett's arrest."

Bennett was taken into custody on Thursday afternoon at his home.  He is charged with four counts of arson and two counts of armed burglary. He has a total bond of $300,000.