NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – A man and a woman were arrested Friday in connection with a New Smyrna Beach house fire deputies said was caused intentionally to cover up a burglary.
When firefighters and deputies responded to 3065 Turnbull Bay Road early Wednesday morning, the home was completely engulfed in flames. No one was home at the time of the fire.
"The home is a total loss," a Volusia County Fire spokesperson said.
After the blaze was put out, investigators discovered a safe inside the home had been cut open with a saw. Guns, jewelry and cash were missing from the safe, along with two trailers and an industrial grill from the property, according to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.
Early in the investigation, the State Fire Marshal's Office called the fire suspicious.
On Friday, Volusia County Sheriff's Office officials said David Debenedictis, 35, of New Smyrna Beach, and Angela Halcomb, 32, of Port Orange, have been charged with arson, burglary and theft in connection with the fire.
Deputies said Halcomb acted as a lookout for Debenedictis as he went into the home to break into the safe. During the burglary, deputies said evidence shows that Debenedictis injured himself while cutting into the safe and set the fire to cover up the evidence.
Halcomb was found driving a stolen vehicle, unrelated to this case, and had several pieces of jewelry from the home with her, deputies said. The license plate of one of the stolen trailers was also found with Halcomb, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Detectives executed a search warrant for Debenedictis's Treadway Road home and found a "vast amount" of stolen property.
Authorities said additional charges are pending for both of them, because they believe Debenedictis is behind a "significant number" of burglary and theft cases in southeast Volusia County.