UMATILLA, Fla. (FOX 35 Orlando) - The Lake County Sheriff's Office has released footage from various security cameras that show a suspected arsonist in action.
Authorities are investigating whether these recent fires in the Umatilla area are connected to the same suspect. They are also looking into a black vehicle that has been spotted at some of the crime scenes.
Investigations into six different arson cases are active and ongoing, the Sheriff's Office says. In some of the cases, cars have been set ablaze. In others, the arsonist has targeted private businesses or residential structures.
PHOTO GALLERY: Authorities search for arsonist in string of Umatila fires
The most recent incident happened before dawn on Wednesday, at the home of a Lake County sheriff's deputy, where two cars were destroyed. Days earlier, a car was set on fire in a garage at a home on Wilson Parrish Road. That fire spread to the house, where a teenager was sleeping; however, the boy escaped unharmed. Within an hour of that fire, a pole barn structure was
destroyed at the rear of a property on Saltsdale Road.
Three businesses have also been targeted, including the Old Crow restaurant, a Sonoco gas station, and the Jolly Roger's Guns Gold & Pawn shop. A suspect was seen on video breaking into the pawn shop and stealing items, but did not set a fire.
Pawn Shop owner Roger Minger said the burglar stole $2,000 worth of jewelry. “He stole not only merchandise, which is nothing really, but he stole our sense of security, our sense of community,” Minger said.
Anyone with information concerning the suspect's identity, or the black vehicle shown, to call the Sheriff's Office at 352-343-2101 or Central Florida Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477).