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'Arsonist' targets mobile homes in Cocoa, police say

No injuries reported

COCOA, Fla. – Cocoa police believe someone may be deliberately targeting mobile homes after two residences were set on fire in two separate incidents over the last week.

The latest incident happened about 4 a.m. Monday after Cocoa police were called to a mobile home on Nomad Street in Sunrise Village mobile home park, about two blocks from where the first incident took place March 30. In the latest case four men inside were awakened to the sound of glass breaking nearby, News 6 partner Florida Today reported.

Neighbor Andrew Pesente says his grandson was one of the men inside.

"They threw a brick and poured gasoline on the porch," Pesente told News 6 Monday.

"They set the doormat on fire," Cocoa Police Department spokeswoman Yvonne Martinez told News 6 moments later.

Police said they went to see what happened and discovered that the front door of their mobile home was on fire. The men managed to put out the fire.

No one was injured.

“Somebody out there is setting these fires and the concern is that they’re doing it when people are at home sleeping,” said Yvonne Martinez, spokeswoman for the Cocoa Police Department.

“We think there’s a possibility it could be random but it could also be someone who lives nearby. We just don’t have enough information right now to say,” she said.

Police are also working with a language barrier as they work to alert neighbors in the mostly Hispanic community.

“Hopefully, we will catch this person before someone gets hurt,” Martinez said.

On Thursday, witnesses told Cocoa police that they saw something like "fire" shooting through the air. Moments later a mobile home trailer was seen burning, police report.

Pesente said if his home is targeted next, he'll fight fire with bullets.

"I invite them to try and torch my place, because if they do, I have a big gun at my house for them," Pesente told News 6. "If I catch them, they won't need the cops. All they'll need is a body bag."

The homeowner was sleeping at the time but was not injured. There was a moderate amount of damage reported to the mobile home.

Police said both fires appear to be deliberately set. Anyone with information in the case is asked to call Cocoa police at 321-639-2620 or CRIMELINE at 1-800-423-TIPS.


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