Two Lower Keys teenagers were arrested Thursday night after they entered a vacant Summerland Key home and started a fire that caused approximately $200,000 in damage.
Trenton Orrie Cherasia, 16, of Summerland Key, and Matthew Haarbauer, 14, of Cudjoe Key, were both charged with burglary and arson.
“I would like to thank the parents of these two juveniles for their involvement in this case,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “Strong partnerships between law enforcement officers and those they serve will always result in safer streets. It is my hope these two young individuals learn a hard lesson from this incident and they avoid taking a negative path in life going forward.”
The Sheriff’s Office was notified at approximately 5:34 p.m. of flames emitting from the bedroom roof of a vacant two-story home on the 24000 block of Calle Real.
Sgt. Spencer Curry, Detective Ken Fricke and Deputies Jonathon Lane, Donald Stullken, Thomas Fricke and Anthony Buscemi responded. Multiple witnesses and neighbors were attempting to put the fire out with garden hoses. They stated the home was vacant. There were multiple no trespassing signs on the property. Deputy Lane entered the second floor and yelled inside. He was pushed back due to the heavy, black smoke. Monroe County Fire Rescue firefighters extinguished the fire shortly thereafter. Much of the second floor and roof was heavily damaged.
There were no reported injuries.
Multiple witnesses stated they saw two male teenagers dressed in black earlier who did not appear to be from the neighborhood. Deputy Stullken located both suspects on Katherine Street and identified them as Cherasia and Haarbauer.
They initially denied starting the fire and stated they were just out for a walk. Their parents arrived on scene. One parent had a tracking app on her phone that showed her son’s GPS location history. Deputy Stullken noted the history indicated the boy had been at the fire location. Both juveniles were turned over the custody of their parents while the Sheriff’s Office continued to investigate the case.
One of the suspects’ father contacted the Sheriff’s Office at approximately 7:39 p.m. and asked for a Deputy respond to their location on Summerland Key. Deputy Lane responded and found both suspects with their parents. Cherasia admitted they started the fire. Deputy Lane asked both whey they started the fire and both stated they were bored. Both stated they went inside via an unlocked front door and went to the master bedroom where they ignited a piece of paper from a book. They stated they left with the paper burning.
The Department of Juvenile Justice was notified of the charges against both teenagers.
The investigation is ongoing and more charges may be filed.