Monday, June 18, 2018
Public safety

St. Pete man accused of setting fires at his old apartments

ST. PETERSBURG — Police arrested a man they said set various small fires inside vacant apartments during the past several months.

Andrew Louis Martinez, 21, was arrested Sunday, after police said he confessed to arsons at places he once lived. He also admitted to making bomb threats to a downtown pawn shop he had a disagreement with, police said.

Detectives say that on Jan. 9, Martinez got inside an empty apartment at 409 Eighth St. N and lit a foam mattress pad that was inside a closet. He also lit up a bunch of papers in the living room. By the time the fire was put out, $8,000 in damage was done, according to arrest affidavits.

In May, police said, someone started making bomb threats to Stan's Pawn shop, at 380 Fourth St N. That was Martinez too, they said.

On June 13, officials investigated a small fire at 779 Fourth Ave N. Someone set a box of debris on the front porch on fire.

Six days later, a vacant unit at 807 Calla Ter. N caught fire. Someone used matches to light a sheet hanging in the window; the blaze caused $2,000 in damage, police said.

Police said as they investigated each case, they began to develop Martinez as a suspect. They brought him in for questioning this week.

On Monday afternoon, Martinez was in the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $210,000 bail.

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