Officials: Person of Interest in 30 Fla. Arsons Arrested

Aug. 17--A person of interest in nearly 30 arsons throughout Central Florida was arrested Saturday after a chase with Daytona Beach police and a suicide attempt, officials said.

Steven Angle, 40, is in the Volusia County Jail on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting an officer without violence and a parole violation out of Georgia.

Police said Angle was spotted by Daytona Beach police around noon in the 600 block of Oleander Avenue. He immediately took off running when a detective approached him.

Angle darted through several residential yards before entering the Maui Nix surf shop on North Atlantic Avenue, where he went to the second floor and was threatening to jump, police said.

"Chief [Mike] Chitwood, Officer Alex Manjasek and Officer Harry Oakley were able to talk Angle into surrendering," according to a police statement.

Earlier this week, Angle was named a person of interest in 11 arsons since June in the Sanford area. There also have been 16 suspicious fires in Orlando since April and three in Volusia County this week.

Angle is a person of interest in all of them, said Keith Maddox with the Orlando Fire Department.

"They are still trying to piece together what they have," Maddox said.

Angle's arrest comes a day after authorities announced an arson-investigation task force consisting of Sanford, Daytona and Orlando police departments; Orlando Fire Department; the Seminole County Sheriff's Office; the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the State Fire Marshal.

The most recent fire was Friday, when an ocean-side home in Ormond Beach was set ablazeThe most recent fire was Friday, when an ocean-side home in Ormond Beach was set ablazeThe most recent fire was Friday, when an ocean-side home in Ormond Beach was set ablaze, officials said.

The Daytona Beach Fire Department responded to two fires in Wednesday's early morning hours. A fire in the 500 block of Phoenix Avenue was followed hours later by another in 500 block of Lenox Avenue, which was just a short distance away.

Daytona Beach Fire Department Lt. Larry Stoney declined to connect Angle to the fires but said Angle was "spotted in Daytona around the time of the fires."

"We want to do our due diligence to make sure we cancel out all other possibilities before we point the finger at the individual arrested Saturday," he said.

On July 3 a fire destroyed the historic Little Red School House in Sanford. In the days and weeks that followed, firefighters responded to nine other fires near downtown Sanford and unincorporated areas of Seminole County.

In Orlando, suspicious fires have been reported in Thornton Park, Colonialtown and other established downtown neighborhoods.

Angle's half brother, Curtis Smith, 34, was charged with attempted murder and first-degree arson in connection with a mobile-home fire in Sanford on Aug. 8 at 325 Miller Road, just north of Lake Jesup in Seminole County.

dharris@tribune.com or 407-420-5471

Copyright 2014 - Orlando Sentinel

Loading