Steven Wayne Angle, who authorities say may know about a rash of 28 arson fires in Orlando, Sanford and Daytona Beach, is no stranger to handcuffs and a jail cell.
Since 1992, the 40-year-old unemployed Sanford man has been arrested 24 times in Central Florida for a variety of crimes, including burglary, theft, criminal mischief, exposing himself in public, kidnapping and sexual assault.
He also has served more than seven years in Georgia prisons for burglary convictions, though his Florida record shows no arson charges.
When Angle was arrested Saturday after a brief chase with Daytona Beach police, he was out on bail and awaiting trial on charges of rape.
Last week, state and local fire investigators named Angle as a person of interest in 11 arsons in the Sanford area and three in Daytona Beach and Ormond Beach since late June. Orlando fire investigators are also calling Angle a person of interest regarding 13 suspicious fires that have occurred since April in several established downtown neighborhoods.
Angle is in the Volusia County Jail, charged with resisting an officer and disorderly conduct. Because he is wanted by the state of Georgia for violating his probation regarding a 2007 burglary conviction, he is being held without bail.
"At this point, he is off the streets," said Ashley Carr, a state fire marshal spokeswoman.
When authorities — including members of a recently assembled arson investigation task force — tried to question Angle in the Volusia County Jail on Saturday regarding the fires, he refused to talk and immediately asked for an attorney.
Angle moved into a mobile home on 340 Miller Road, a small neighborhood tucked just north of Lake Jesup, in 2011.
According to county records, he co-owned the home with Rachel Elam, whom neighbors described as his girlfriend. She could not be reached for comment.
Angle's next-door neighbor was his half-brother, Curtis Smith, who was arrested this month on charges of burning down a neighbor's home on Miller Road, one of the 15 arsons in the Sanford area.
"They aggravated everybody," said Rusty Dunning, who lives two doors down from Angle. "They would set off small bombs and firecrackers all night. They're stupid crazy…It would wake everybody up in the middle of the night."
But Ernie Bouley, who has lived on Miller Road for 40 years, described Angle as a friendly neighbor who was willing to lend a helping hand. He said he was "flabbergasted" at Angle's legal problems.
"I had a small air conditioner and I couldn't put it in the back of my truck, and he helped me out," Bouley said. "As far as I'm concerned, he was all right."
A native of West Virginia, Angle has held a variety of odd jobs, including installing tires, working at a Volusia junkyard, paving roads and cleaning pools, neighbors said. However, there is no indication that he was recently employed.
Until last Saturday, Angle was serving his Georgia probation in Florida.
But after his stepbrother's arrest Aug. 8 on charges of attempted murder and first-degree arson in connection with the Miller Road blaze, Angle stopped reporting to his probation officers. That's when Georgia authorities issued a warrant for his arrest last Thursday.
Most of Angle's arrests are related to burglaries and thefts, but his next court date involves a case in which he's charged in a brutal rape.
In January 2011, a young woman sat waiting for a bus just after 8 p.m. at the corner of University Boulevard and Alafaya Trail to take her to the Orlando International Airport to meet her mother. She had just gotten off work from a nearby Applebee's restaurant, when a man she identified as Angle sat down next to her and asked her if she needed a ride, authorities said.
The young woman agreed. But instead of taking her to the airport, the man drove her to a citrus grove near Sanford and raped her, according to a report from the Seminole County Sheriff's Office. He threatened to kill her with a knife, records show.
After she managed to escape, the victim ran to State Road 46 and flagged down a car. She was later rushed by paramedics to Central Florida Regional Hospital.
In February 2012, DNA evidence taken from the woman linked Angle to the crime.
At that time, Angle was in the Berrien County Jail in Nashville, Ga., on a burglary arrest.
Angle has since been charged with sexual battery and kidnapping. He was arrested on March 15, 2013 and walked out of the Seminole County Jail about a week later after $22,000 bail was posted.
A trial date is scheduled to be set on Aug. 21 at the Seminole County Courthouse, according to court records.Copyright © 2015, CT Now