ORLANDO, Fla. – A 58-year-old man has been arrested, accused of setting fire to Goff’s Drive-In, a historic Orlando ice cream shop in Orlando.
Alfred Jerome Kirkland was arrested months after the arson in May, according to the arrest affidavit.
The iconic ice cream shop, which opened in 1948 and is located on S. Orange Blossom Trail, was torched on May 20.
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Police were able to view footage from multiple surveillance cameras from surrounding businesses in their investigation and also used DNA to help identify Kirkland, records show.
The camera footage showed a man walking behind Goff’s before the fire and leaving the same way after the fire started.
At one point, the footage shows a man walking along a fence on the north side of the ice cream shop’s property, placing his bag on the ground and crawling under the fence, taking the bag with him. Smoke is then seen in the background, coming from the area of Goff’s. Around 30 seconds later, the man crawls back under the fence, police said.
An OPD Crime Scene Investigator visited the scene and observed a red spot under the fence where the man made his entrance and exit. They determined the red spot was blood and submitted the sample to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to be tested, according to the affidavit.
A search using the Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS, provided an offender match to Kirkland, according to investigators.
Nekole, who did not want to share her last name, works at the cell phone store just a few doors down from Goff’s and said she’s glad police found the person they believe is responsible for the arson.
“I’m happy because Goff’s is a historic business, it’s a historic ice cream shop. People come in, they drive business in the area,” she said.
Nekole said Goff’s always attracts customers in the area and she’s hoping the historic business will reopen soon.
“I know Todd can’t wait to see all of the people and all of his customers and I hope it opens very, very soon,” she said.
Todd Peacock, the owner of Goff’s, sent a statement to News 6 following the arrest. It reads:
The only comment I have about it is “why”? I am sure when I hear back from the lead investigator when he gets back next week there might be more. Thank you for thinking about us. It’s been a rough 3 months for sure.Todd Peacock
Kirkland was booked into the Orange County jail but has since been released on bond.
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