Caught on camera: Neptune Beach police looking for arson suspect who lit porch on fire

NEPTUNE BEACH, Fla. — Neptune Beach police are searching for the man caught on camera lighting a house on fire by placing a burning bag on the porch.


Police said that the man would face arson and vandalism charges at the very least, and several properties were affected.

Neighbors told Action News Jax that the suspect also burnt their mailboxes. At least five were hit on the same street. Police believe the suspect did all of this within an hour overnight.

“It doesn’t take much of a spark to land on a roof, and it could’ve been much worse. I definitely feel like it’s reckless. I want him held accountable,” said Katie Tranhardt, who lives near the house and whose mailbox was burned.

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Action News Jax is aware of at least six reports filed. We spotted at least two burned mailboxes and others knocked over in the area of Nightfall Drive.

“There’s fear. There’s anger … There are children around. There are elderly couples. We don’t want to live in fear that there’s going to be a flaming piece of mail on our doorstep and cause a fire,” explained Tranhardt.

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Police said the suspect targeted the area. he’s described as a heavyset man with glasses and a beard, walking barefoot.

Surveillance video shows the suspect walking up someone’s driveway from two different angles with an object already on fire before placing it right near the front door and walking away.

Other neighbors like George Langstaff said they’d never seen this man before.

“Just find something else to do. Leave us alone,” he said. “Nobody’s bothering you.”

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For Trandhardt, she knows her neighbors will stick together to help authorities.

“I want to protect the kids and neighbors, and like I said, I’m in mama bear mode,” she said. “I want to have this person held accountable.”

All of this happened overnight Wednesday from 12:15 a.m. to 1:15 a.m. Neptune Beach police are asking people to check their cameras, and if you have information, give them a call.

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