Suspicious items found in home someone tried to burn down

Police had previously arrested two murder suspects at the home.


Published: Tuesday, September 1, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, August 31, 2009 at 10:42 p.m.

Officers planned to search a Waldo home Monday that someone tried to set on fire, the same residence where investigators found two men in July wanted on murder charges out of Miami.

Police went to the residence at 13472 N.E. 148th Ave. after a neighbor reported that a door was not secured at the building, said Waldo Police Chief Michael Szabo. Officers, who arrived at the home shortly after 7:30 a.m. Monday, found a burnt rag leading from a door at the home and what appeared to be gasoline or chemicals spread throughout the structure.

Szabo said police saw other things inside the residence including gun rounds, "a suspicious hole in the carpet" and dark stains.

"We're concerned about some things that we saw inside that may lead us to (determine) why they were trying to burn down the house," Szabo said.

Based on what was found at the home, the fire marshal and officers with the Alachua County Sheriff's Office also are involved in the investigation, Szabo said.

Waldo police and the Sheriff's Office did not elaborate Monday afternoon on the grounds for the search.

"They saw some different things that didn't add up," said Sheriff's Office spokesman Art Forgey.

The Sheriff's Office was providing forensics assistance at the home, Forgey said.

Investigators were seeking a search warrant so they could go through the building, listed in property records as a single-family dwelling valued at more than $90,000.

The owner of the home is supposed to be staying at a retirement facility, leaving the residence vacant, Szabo said.

Officers also found a pickup at the home with a lien on it. Bank officials had been searching for the vehicle for about two years, the police chief said.

Police at first thought the apparent attempted arson might have been linked to the pickup. Now they aren't sure, given what they found inside the building and the home's history.

In July, the U.S. Marshals Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force in Gainesville were provided information that two men accused of fatally shooting a man in south Florida might have fled to a relative's home in Waldo.

On July 8, officers surrounded the home occupied at the time by six adults and arrested Lloyd Aloyrius Thomas, 23, and Lloyd Anthony Rogers Jr., 26, brothers who had lived in northwest Miami. Thomas and Rogers each were charged with one count of murder by Miami Gardens police, who have accused the men of participating in the shooting death of a person on June 20.

At the time, officers also arrested another man at the home for failing to appear in court in Alachua County on drug-related charges.

Officers listed the home in a man's name in July.

But county property records list the residence's taxpayer as a woman in Fitzgerald, Ga., who could not be immediately reached by phone Monday afternoon.

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