VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. -- One of two people arrested in connection to a burglary and arson case is thought to have committed a "significant" number of other thefts in Volusia County, the Sheriff's Office said.
- 2 people charged in arson, burglary of New Smyrna Beach home
- Deputies: Safe was broken into, home intentionally set on fire
- Detectives: Couple linked to 'significant' number of burglaries
David L. Debenedictis, 35, and Angela Halcomb, 32, were in the Volusia Branch Jail on Friday on numerous charges between them, including arson, grand theft and armed burglary.
The house fire on the 3000 block of Turnbull Bay Road in the New Smyrna Beach area happened Wednesday morning. No one was home at the time, but after the fire was put out, investigators found that a safe inside the home had been cut open with a saw, and valuables kept inside were missing. Two trailers on the property and a grill were also missing.
Now investigators believe the home was set on fire to cover up blood left at the scene by the suspected burglars who stole trailers, guns, and jewelry from the home.
Deputies said that on Thursday, New Smyrna Beach Police found Halcomb in a stolen vehicle, which they say contained a Florida license plate belonging to one of the missing trailers. She also had some jewelry and a pressure washer, which the owner of the burned home said was hers.
Detectives now think that Halcomb acted as a lookout to the Wednesday house burglary, while Debenedictis went inside and broke into the safe. They think he set the fire to cover up the act.
Investigators conducting a search warrant at Debenedictis' home say they've found a "vast" amount of stolen property, and they think Debenedictis is connected to a "significant" number of burglaries and thefts in the southeast Volusia area.
"The guy is a career criminal. He's a career scumbag, and he did everything he could to stay out of jail, and hopefully this is the one where he never sees the light of day again," said Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood.
Detectives believe there could be dozens of victims out there, and anywhere between $150,000-250,000 worth of stolen materials found on Debenedictis's property.
"There was a truckload of stuff that we just loaded up. The hard part will be matching what was stolen to the victim," Chitwood said.
Sheriff Chitwood told Spectrum News authorities believe Debenedictis was the ring leader of a group of unknown people who were targeting homes throughout Volusia County.
Additional charges are expected, deputies said.
Reporter Bailey Myers contributed to this report.