A suspect was arrested Thursday, Aug. 16 after he reportedly burglarized a vehicle before setting it on fire, according to a statement from the Winter Park Police Department.
Officers responded to a call of a vehicle fire at around 6:30 a.m. at the 600 block of Berwick Drive, not far from Winter Park High School.
Police heard from a witness that a suspect, later identified as Christian E. Sepulveda, was standing beside the open door of a white Volkswagen Jetta. The vehicle was facing south on the west side of the street.
“(The witness) stated that Sepulveda was standing in the door way of the drivers seat when she noticed small flames coming from the front seat,” the police report reads. “(The witness) then asked Sepulveda what was wrong. Sepulveda responded by facing her and stating, ‘The car is on fire.’”
Sepulveda then reportedly closed the open door and started walking away from the vehicle, heading north on Berwick Drive toward Brookshire Avenue.
The officers made contact with Sepulveda, and an investigation revealed he had burglarized the car and set it on fire. Law enforcement also discovered Sepulveda was connected to several other vehicle burglaries in the area.
Sepulveda was arrested for arson, vehicle burglary and grand theft. The owner of the vehicle told Winter Park officers they intend to pursue criminal charges. Additional charges are pending as the investigation continues.
The police department couldn’t offer more information beyond the police report because of the ongoing nature of the investigation.
According to the community crime map available through the department’s website, another incident of arson took place nearby at the 600 block of Dunraven Drive just 90 minutes earlier.
The department hadn’t had an arson case since July 3 near the intersection of West Fairbanks Avenue and Clay Street, according to the the community crime map. Before that, the last arson incident happened back in February, also on Clay Street.
CAR BURGLAR ARRESTED
On Monday, Aug. 20, the Winter Park Police Department arrested Khalid O. Johnson, who is suspected of three vehicle burglaries and larceny to a vehicle during the early morning hours of July 25, according to a statement from the department. Johnson was booked into Orange County Jail.
Winter Park has seen at least 12 car burglaries so far this month as of Tuesday, Aug. 21, according to the online community crime map. Last month was the worst this year in terms of car burglaries with 27. That’s compared to the 22 reported burglaries in January and 21 reported in March.