Valdosta man charged in arson, burglary of neighbor's home -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Valdosta man charged in arson, burglary of neighbor's home

Neighbor, Billy Sarco Neighbor, Billy Sarco
Charles Hawkins' home Charles Hawkins' home

A Valdosta man is in jail accused of burglarizing a Moody Airman's home and setting it on fire.  Police say the offender lived just a few houses down from the victims.

Billy Sarco called 911 September 9th when he noticed his neighbor's home was on fire. Sarco says he knew someone in the Deborah Drive neighborhood had to be responsible. "I knew somebody had to be around the neighborhood because we didn't hear a car, a truck door, a car door, and that right there tells you something."

That's because the suspect, 24-year-old Charles Hawkins, lived just three doors down in this home. "I was in shock, really I was, because that's close quarters," said Sarco.

With arrest warrants issued last week for Hawkins, officers spotted him on Friday riding his bike near the neighborhood. After a short chase he was arrested and also charged with obstruction of an officer.

"What tied him to the case was a lot of witness testimony and information that witnesses came forth with," said Capt. Bobbi McGraw, VPD.

The home police say Hawkins set on fire is unlivable. Moody Sergeant First Class Jonathon Santay and his wife Victoria were out of town that night. They told WALB they lost almost everything except for the clothes in their suitcases.

"You know if you steal something you don't have to torch the house and burn it down," said Sarco.

Right now investigators are working to find out if Hawkins was involved in any other burglaries in this neighborhood.

Hawkins remains in the Lowndes County Jail charged with arson, burglary, and obstruction of an officer.

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