NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – A man who was found guilty of setting a house on fire in New Smyrna Beach to cover up a burglary from July 2018 was sentenced to 25 years in prison in a Volusia County courtroom on Wednesday.
On May 6, David Lee Debenedictis, 36, was found guilty of first-degree arson, burglary while armed with a gun, grand theft, grand theft of a gun and possession of amphetamines.
He is also a 10-time convicted felon, according to deputies.
“I want to thank State Attorney Larizza and his team for making this conviction happen, and protecting our community from a scumbag who has no respect for his fellow man, their property, or the law,” Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said.
On July 25, 2018, firefighters responded to a house fire at 3065 Turnbull Bay Road, which is about three miles north of State Road 44 and a half-mile east of Interstate 95.
Crews said no one was in the home at the time of the incident and the house was a total loss once the fire was out.
Deputies said investigators found a safe inside the home had been cut open with a saw.
Guns, jewelry and cash were missing from the safe, according to deputies.
Investigators said two trailers and a grill was stolen from the property.
Two days later, deputies arrested Debenedictis and 32-year-old Port Orange woman Angela Halcomb for the arson and burglary.
The sheriff’s office said Halcomb acted as a lookout for Debenedictis.
Halcomb was arrested while driving a stolen vehicle, according to deputies.
She was also caught with some of the jewelry from the home that was set on fire, according to the sheriff’s office.
Stolen items were also found at Debenedictis’ home.
The sheriff’s office said the fire was set to the home to cover up the burglary.
Debenedictis was facing life in prison, he was sentenced to 25 years.
The case for Halcomb is still pending.
“The day that career scumbag David Debenedictis got locked up was a great day for Volusia County, and my hope is that he’s never going to walk free to victimize another innocent person,” Chitwood said.