• Jacksonville police searching for arsonist after robbery, fire at American Legion building

    By: Ben Becker , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    Police are looking for an arsonist who set an American Legion building on fire after breaking in and stealing thousands of dollars.

    Action News Jax first told you about the fire and break-in at Post 9 on New Kings Road Sunday morning.

    Investigators believe the fire was set by burglars to cover their tracks.

    “It’s complete devastation,” says Post Commander Lena Heredia-Perez. “It’s heart-wrenching what’s going on right now.”

    Action News Jax was allowed inside, and the damage was everywhere from ceiling tiles and melted TVs to singed Christmas books and even a burned American flag.

    The State Fire Marshal said someone broke into the building likely between 5 and 7 a.m. Sunday. Heredia-Perez says the thieves got into coin machines and lock boxes and stole more than $13,000.

    “We found fingerprints, and I hope and pray they are in the system,” says Heredia-Perez.

    She also believes whoever is responsible had been there before, because they seemed to know their way around.

    “It will come back to you,” says Heredia-Perez. “You took away from veterans that need our services, took away from my brothers and sisters, but thank you. We will prosper, we will be better than we ever were because of this.”

    Currently there are no suspects or witnesses.

    The Legion post has also set up a GoFundMe page.

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