Arson arrest brings domestic dispute to end
A man was arrested Sunday afternoon after authorities said he set his house on fire after a domestic dispute. The situation began about 4:30 p.m. when a woman called 911 to report she was being physically assaulted by her boyfriend at the home they share at 4600 14th Ave. S. While still on the phone with a dispatcher, the woman told police that Robert Harden, 51, was threatening to burn down the house. Then, authorities said, the man poured gas in the bedrooms and lit it. Firefighters were able to put out the blaze and Harden was arrested after police arrived, said St. Petersburg police Sgt. Jim Haley. The one-story, wood frame home, valued at $135,500, suffered about $40,000 in damages and is uninhabitable, according to St. Petersburg Fire Rescue spokesman Lt. Joel Granata. No injuries were reported. The woman and her teenage son are staying with friends, Granata said. "The saving grace here is that nobody was hurt," said Granata. Harden faces five felony charges: arson, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest with violence. He was also arrested on a charge of domestic battery, a misdemeanor.
Male intruder wore T-shirt and panties
A Plant City man is accused of breaking into his pregnant neighbor's home wearing only a T-shirt and women's panties. Benancia Ramirez, 22, slipped into his neighbor's home through an unlocked back door Saturday night, according to a Hillsborough County sheriff's report. The victim was sleeping beside her husband and children, the report said, when she awoke to find someone rubbing her. Once she realized it wasn't her husband, she told him to stop. That's when her husband awoke, causing the intruder to flee. The couple, who identified the intruder as their neighbor, called police. Ramirez faces a charge of burglary and aggravated battery on a pregnant female. He remained in the Orient Road Jail on Sunday with no bail.
Donor gives family more time in motel
An anonymous donor has paid for the Wineberger family to stay an extra three nights at a local motel. The family found themselves homeless Friday night when their rented home was condemned for faulty electrical wiring. The story was chronicled in Sunday's St. Petersburg Times. It was the latest blow for the family, which has struggled financially since son Josiah, 5, suffered brain damage last year after a speaker fell on his head at BayWalk. The family was to check out of the Ramada Inn on U.S. 19 in St. Petersburg on Monday after their three-night stay, provided by the Red Cross, was up.