Ocala man torches neighbor’s home because of rumor victim was a pedophile, police say

Kenneth Bryant, 42, arrested Monday

Kenneth Bryant, 42 (Contributed Photo (Marion County Jail))

OCALA, Fla. – Ocala police arrested a man Monday who they believe started a fire that damaged a mobile home in early December.

Kenneth Bryant, 42, was arrested at Wagon Wheel Mobile Home Park. According to the arrest report, Bryant told police he couldn’t remember the incident because he was too intoxicated but said he was not fond of the victim because of rumors that the man was a child molester.

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Police said they responded to an arson call at the same mobile home park in the 1600 block of NE 25th Ave., on Dec. 3. There, police saw the remains of a fire that caused minor damage to the exterior of the victim’s home, according to the arrest report.

The victim told investigators that he was not home when the fire started but rather returned from a nearby mini-mart to find fire trucks there.

According to the report, arson investigators told police the flames appeared suspicious, noting a small pile of papers and a lighter in the remains of the fire.

Police said the victim of the arson said he believed his neighbor, Bryant, started the fire. Officers could not find Bryant at the scene of the time of the fire, but another neighbor they questioned said the accused arsonist had said he wanted to set the victim’s house on fire, claiming the victim is a “pedophile.”

On Dec. 13, police said they found Bryant at the mobile home park and arrested him. He was transported to the Marion County Jail and faces a charge of arson.

About the Author:

Penny De La Cruz started working at WKMG-TV in September 2021. Before joining News 6, Penny worked at KSAT 12 in San Antonio, Texas.