ORLANDO, Fla. — Deputies said a woman set a home on fire, then stole a deputy’s vehicle as he ran into the burning home to save someone.
Around 5 a.m. Thursday, Orange County first responders were notified of a burning home on Flycast Circle in a neighborhood between Lake Underhill Road and SR-408.
According to police documents, a deputy was first to arrive at the home and witnessed a man helping two women out through the front door as smoke and fire spread inside.
The deputy said the man then went back into the burning home.
According to the police documents, the deputy said he got his fire extinguisher from his patrol vehicle and rushed toward the burning house to help the man.
The deputy got the man out of the house, but emerged from the home to realize that one of the women and his patrol vehicle were missing.
The deputy had left his phone in the stolen vehicle, so deputies were able to track its location using the Find My iPhone feature.
Deputies said Cooper Elores left the deputy’s vehicle unoccupied at a business on East South Street near Primrose Drive. Elores was located a short time later about a block away near a home on East Jackson Street.
The man who lives at that home had called police when Elores knocked on his door around 5 a.m. asking if she could use his phone to call police, deputies said.
“I didn’t let her in the house. I said ‘No, I don’t know you,’” said Gennaro Cuozzo. “I said, ‘I don’t know you, and you want to come in my house at four o’clock in the morning. Are you serious?’”
Cuozzo said she couldn’t get into his home thanks to a heavy gate over his front door.
Cuozzo and deputies said they later found a wig and a torch lighter in the bushes in front of Cuozzo's home that did not belong to him. Elores was bald when she knocked on his door, Cuozzo said.
Firefighters stopped the flames before they destroyed the home.
Elores is charged with arson and grand theft. Deputies did not say what the motive was for allegedly starting the fire and stealing the deputy’s vehicle. She is expected to appear in court Friday morning.
Channel 9 learned the Orange County Sheriff’s Office is asking deputies to think twice when leaving their patrol cars, though a spokesperson said the deputy whose vehicle was stolen did nothing wrong.
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