George Carneiro was charged by police for committing arson on two residential properties that he owned, in Clay County on May 30, according to the Clay County police department.
The police report states that Carneiro attempted to stage the crime scene with false evidence, in hopes of disguising the arson as a hate crime.
A swastika was left at the site of the arson, along with a sign reading “This is our land. Latinos are not welcome,” according to media reports.
Why do the police suspect Carneiro of the arson?
Footage of Carneiro’s employee purchasing fuel, on March 12, 2023, led to the police investigating Carneiro’s involvement.
Bank records also revealed that Carneiro was behind on payments, which would give him a financial motive for the destruction of the properties.
Based on the above evidence, the police secured a warrant for Carneiro’s phone which tracked his location during the time the fires were lit.
Carneiro is currently facing charges of burning to defraud the insurer and false and fraudulent insurance claims relating to the arson.
"I want to thank the patrol deputies who originally responded to these calls and the detectives who worked tirelessly to solve these crimes. Without their efforts, we would not have been able to make this arrest. I have zero tolerance for anyone who comes into our community and uses hate as a cover for their own schemes. We are fortunate that incidents like this are extremely rare in Clay County, and I appreciate the community members who came forward with information on the case," stated Sheriff Michelle Cook.