Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Two Tampa men accused of putting burning bags in garbage chute at apartments for elderly

TAMPA — Two men are accused of throwing flaming bags down the garbage chute at their public housing complex for the elderly and are suspects in seven similar cases, police said Monday.

Jacinto Rodriguez Vazquez, 66, and Edwin Torres, 59, were captured on surveillance cameras lighting bags and then dropping them down the chute late Friday and early Saturday at the J.L. Young Apartments, 8220 N Florida Ave., police said.

The men, who live in apartments at the complex, each face a felony charge of first-degree arson of a dwelling.

They are being investigated in similar fires at the apartment complex between Sept. 21 and Saturday. The fires caused about $7,000 in damage, police said.

After several fires there were reported, investigators installed surveillance cameras. About 11:45 p.m. Friday, Tampa police responded to a report of an arson. The surveillance footage showed Vazquez lighting a bag and throwing it down a garbage chute, police said.

Three hours later, Torres was also caught on camera setting another fire, police said.

Many of the residents at the apartment complex are physically disabled and use motorized wheelchairs to get around. That could have created a deadly situation, said Florence Dickerson, 66, who uses a wheelchair.

"It is dangerous," she said. "I don't know why a person would do that."

The fire alarms had become so frequent that some residents didn't even leave their apartments, said Eric Mingledorff, a 61-year-old man in a wheelchair.

"They got them on video?" asked Mingledorff. "Well, I think they ought to be in jail."

Dickerson said residents had been surprised to learn the suspects lived among them. She said she originally thought the fire in the garbage chute was an accident. "My opinion was maybe some dodo bird forgot to put out his cigarette," she said.

Torres posted a bond for his $15,000 bail and was released Sunday from the Hillsborough County Jail. Vazquez was still being held on $15,000 bail Monday night, jail records show.

Times staff writer Jodie Tillman contributed to this report.

Two Tampa men accused of putting burning bags in garbage chute at apartments for elderly 10/17/11 [Last modified: Monday, October 17, 2011 10:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump's lawyers seek to undercut Mueller's Russia investigation


    Some of President Donald Trump's lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president's authority to grant pardons, the Washington Post reported, citing people familiar …

    President Donald Trump is said to be irritated by the notion that the special counsel's investigation could reach into his and his family's finances. [Associated Press]
  2. North Tampa shooting leaves one man dead


    Times staff

    TAMPA — A man was fatally shot Thursday afternoon after an argument with another man escalated, police said.

  3. St. Pete City Council tightens building rules in historic areas

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — There's a battle being waged over the soul of the city's historic neighborhoods.

    A new larger home sits next to a smaller one in the Kenwood neighborhood in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.
  4. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over 'inappropriate conduct' (w/ video)


    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.
  5. Fennelly: With playoff chase in high gear, it's time for Rays to make a move

    The Heater


    Thursday was an off-day for the Rays, who are coming off a solid western swing. I assume there was no rest for the tag-team Rays baseball brain trust of Matt Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom, whose job it is to improve this team in advance of the trade deadline. They've done a good job …

    Evan Longoria is glad to see the Rangers coming to town: He’s batting .296 against them with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 career games.