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State Fire Marshal Announces Arson Arrest

12/11/2008

CONTACT: Detective Andy Redding 
(904) 798-5804                                 
                                                                                                                                                         
JACKSONVILLE - Florida Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Alex Sink announced today that the Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations (BFAI), in cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF), has arrested a man who set four separate fires at an electronics store.
 
Thomas Litton Hartman, 28, is charged with four counts of Arson to an Occupied Structure; charges are being prosecuted by the Duval County State Attorney’s Office, and Hartman is being held in the Duval County Jail. If convicted on the charges, he faces up to 25 years in prison on each count.
 
“Arson is a dangerous crime that puts innocent citizens and rescue personnel at great risk,” said CFO Sink.  “The State Fire Marshal’s Office urges citizens to report any suspicions or information regarding arson so we can hold these criminals accountable for their violent and costly actions.”
 
Employees and customers were in the store during each fire, but no injuries were reported.  The fires occurred between November 21 and December 1 at the HH Gregg store located at 8380 Merchant’s Way.  The fires were set to a trash compactor, the loading dock, the electrical service box on the exterior of the building, and a bathroom, resulting in several thousand dollars’ worth of damage and lost business. 
 
BFAI Detective James Little and BATF Special Agent Jeff Brown led the investigation.  Closed-circuit video surveillance footage from the store allegedly identified the suspect, an employee of the store.  Investigators said the suspect confessed to having set all of the fires.
 
The Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations is a law enforcement branch of the Division of State Fire Marshal that assists other state and local fire and law enforcement agencies in the investigation of fires of suspicious origin.  Anyone with information about arson or any suspicious incident of fire is asked to call 1-877-662-7766 (1-877-NO-ARSON).  Rewards are offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink oversees the Department of Financial Services, a multi-division state agency responsible for management of state funds and unclaimed property, assisting consumers who request information and help related to financial services, and investigating financial fraud. CFO Sink also serves as the State Fire Marshal.