HIALEAH GARDENS, Fla. – Miami-Dade police arrested a Hialeah Gardens man Thursday after accusing him of having a home he was contracted to purchase set on fire in order to avoid losing his deposit.
Osmani Amarales, 51, faced two felony charges. Police believe he either set the blaze himself or conspired to do so.
According to an arrest report, Amarales had entered into a contract to purchase the home, located in the 10400 block of Northwest 130th Street in Hialeah Gardens, in February of 2020.
He told police that in March, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, his business suffered to the point where he was forced to pull out of the agreement, the report states. But he had already made a $20,000 deposit.
Just after 11 p.m. on April 28, 2020, police said emergency crews were sent to the home after receiving reports of a residential fire and found that the garage had been pried open with a 42-inch yellow metal crowbar, which had been left at the scene.
Arson investigators determined the fire had been set intentionally.
Police said they were able to track down the crowbar to the Home Depot at 13895 W. Okeechobee Road and a review of surveillance video showed that Amarales and his wife bought the crowbar using his debit card.
As he spoke with detectives, Amarales “looked surprised” to see photographs of the purchase, the report states, and wouldn’t answer any additional questions.
Amarales’ wife did not face any charges in connection to the incident as of Friday.
Amarales was charged with arson and conspiracy to commit arson and was taken to the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center, where he had been held on a $17,500 bond.