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Arsonists Set Pompano Beach Business, Foot Aflame

Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer William Moore loves dumb criminal stories and a group of masked arsonists that hit Pompano Beach last night is no exception. The five unidentified people have eluded police since last night, despite the fact that they were caught on video, and their motive for setting fire to a local business remains a mystery.

At about 10 p.m. last night, five people broke into Rides, Slides and Games, Inc. The children’s entertainment and party rental business has a collection of “bounce houses,” which are inflatable “houses” that kids can jump in at parties and events. The arsonists wasted no time in dousing the bounce houses and the surrounding area with cans of gasoline. Meanwhile, a security camera caught the group on film.

When the arsonists attempted to light all of the gasoline, they had a hard time doing so. Eventually, the flame caught, causing an intense flash fire in the warehouse. Incidentally, one of the arsonists’ feet caught on fire, too, but it is unknown at this time is he or she sustained serious injuries. The arsonists fled the warehouse and the fire broke the windows of a nearby truck. Rides, Slides and Games, Inc. is owned by Coral Springs resident Demosthenes Trivilis, 39.

Watch the Rides, Slides, and Games Pompano Beach arson suspects, from the South Florida Sun Sentinel:

The Broward County Sheriff’s Office aggravated felonies division, the Pompano Beach Fire Marshal, and the Florida statewide Fire Marshal’s Office are all investigating. The arsonists should seek the counsel of an experienced Broward criminal attorney if and when they are caught.

The Florida arson statute is straightforward. In order to convict these suspects, the Broward State Attorney’s Office will have to show that they damaged, either by fire or explosion, a structure. The definition of a structure is very broad and includes buildings as well as tents, boats, airplanes, and barns. Additionally, the damage from the fire must be caused willfully and unlawfully or alternatively, it can be caused when committing another felony. For instance, if a burglar knocks over a candle that sets fire the house he has broken into, it does not matter that he did not cause the fire on purpose. It is enough that he was already committing a felony at that location. There is a popular myth that you can only commit arson when it is another person’s property, but that is incorrect. Burning your own home down if you did so willfully can qualify as arson. In October, a group of south Floridians were arrested for planning to burn a Sunrise home facing foreclosure, presumably to obtain the insurance money prior to losing the home.

Because of the severity of arson, Florida recognizes Arson Awareness Week in May. In 2007 alone, the state Forestry Division handled 589 fires set by arsonists, which burned nearly 110,000 acres of land.

Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer William Moore has experience in a wide range of criminal defense situations. An arrest can damage all aspects of your life, including your employment prospects and custody and visitation of your children. If you have been charged with a crime in Florida, contact William Moore, P.A., which is an experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal law firm with offices in Fort Lauderdale-Dade, Broward, and Fort Lauderdale Counties.

This article should be used for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.

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