• Deputies: Florida man claims he downed 18 beers, Xanax before setting house fire

    By: Palm Beach Post Staff Writer


    ROYAL PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida man was arrested Wednesday after police said he vandalized a vacant house during the summer while high on Xanax and drunk on 18 beers.

    Michael Lee, 31, faces charges of residential unoccupied burglary and arson to a home. He remained in the Palm Beach County Jail on Saturday morning with his bail set at $16,000.

    The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said Lee set multiple fires inside the home, which was for sale when it was vandalized in the early hours of June 22. He smashed almost all the windows and flooded the kitchen and bathrooms by plugging the sink drains and leaving the faucets on, according to the arrest report.

    Deputies responded to the home around 3 a.m. when a neighbor called about a disturbance. The neighbor said the house was for sale and should be empty, the police report said.

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    Officers then heard Lee, who lives next door to the vacant home, yelling from the back of the home. He appeared intoxicated and had fresh cuts and bruises on his right hand, the police report said.

    When asked about the injuries, Lee said he had been upset at his girlfriend for not coming to visit and that he had punched a bedroom wall in his own home, the report said. He also said he had never been to the vacant home and refused to give a DNA sample.

    Police searched the home and found blood on the kitchen and front windows. Police then visited Lee’s home and asked him again about the incident.

    Lee again said he did not know what happened to the house, but this time agreed to give a DNA sample. On Nov. 29, the DNA results revealed that the blood in the house belonged to Lee and officers went back to his residence.

    Lee finally admitted to officers that he had vandalized the home because the mother of his child did not stop by to see him so he took two Xanax pills, drank 18 beers and decided to go for a walk, the police report said.

    He then said he “took his anger out” on the vacant house by smashing the windows with his right hand and setting small fires with a lighter. Police asked Lee if someone was with him during the incident, and he replied that he was alone because “he has no friends and that the only friend he ever had died,” the report states.

    Since Lee cooperated with officers, police did not arrest him until Dec. 7 when the homeowner reported $63,000 in damages that his insurance company could not cover.

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