A homeless man was arrested this afternoon and now faces charges of arson in a fire that destroyed the unfinished Cosmopolitan on the Canal apartments earlier this month.
Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi announced the charges at a news conference this afternoon. He said Brandon L. Burns' motive was unclear but may be related to threats he made against his ex-girlfriend. Burns admitted his role to five people within hours of the fire and appeared to have been acting alone, Brizzi said.
But many questions remain unanswered. Brizzi said investigators will continue to connect as many dots as possible. He said the fire appeared to have been started with small amounts of gasoline on two floors -- and was fueled by high winds that made the canal a wind tunnel in the early morning hours March 12.
"We don't know why this particular building was chosen," Brizzi said. "It all seems very neat and tidy to have a homeless person admit to having started this fire. … I just want to dig deeper."
Brizzi said he did not have any evidence of fraud by the project's owners, but wants the investigation to explore all possible angles.
Okay, let me try to understand this. Crazy homeless guy is upset that his old girlfriend won't take him back. Later, he's down on the canal, fetches a 5-gallon can of gasoline. He then is able to enter into the construction site of the $28 million apartment complex from the canal. Apparently the site is open and has nobody securing the site, even though it is just a couple of months away from completion. He spreads the gasoline around and starts a fire inside the place. Crazy guy's version of the story is that he was with a friend, and the friend entered the site and started a bonfire and the two left. Yep, sounds about right. Case closed. Nothing more to see here. Move along.