BRADENTON, Fla. (WWSB) - A Bradenton man has been charged with burglary and arson after police say he ransacked his grandparent’s home then set it on fire to cover up his tracks.
On October 28, firefighters were called to the 3200th block of 14th Avenue Northwest to find a house on fire. The residents, ages 81 and 77, were away on vacation at the time and not injured.
Though the fire was quickly extinguished, the home was damaged and the residents were not able to return. They’re currently living elsewhere.
On November 13, the day he also turned 25, police say Justin Sartin walked into the police station and admitted starting the fire after burglarizing the home.
Sartin reportedly told police that he had recently lost his job and had no money to pay his bills. He knew his grandparents were spending three weeks in Alabama and told police he broke into their home through a back door on October 15. Once inside, Sartin said he stole three gold rings and $1,400 in cash.
On October 28, police say Sartin told them he knew his grandparents were coming home, so he returned to the house, starting three separate fires using charcoal lighter fluid and a lighter after using bleach to clean anywhere he had touched. He then fled out the backdoor and disposed of the container in a neighbor’s trash can.
Police say Sartin specifically said he started the fire so his grandparents wouldn’t realize items were missing.
Sartin spoke to his grandparents by phone on November 12, allegedly telling them he had tried to pawn the rings, but had no driver’s license and ended up throwing them in a lake behind the home. The money was gone.
He turned himself in the following day. Police say they spoke to his grandparents, who wanted to press charges.
Sartin is charged with burglary and arson.