Authorities responding to a trespassing call in Southeast Orlando on Tuesday, May 6, discovered an arsonist who was either grossly mentally ill or the world’s biggest smartass.
Police arrived at the office building on East Michigan Street around 9:30 a.m. after an employee complained that a man was walking in and out of the business yelling at people. Officers immediately found 56-year-old Timothy Pelton in a closed-in corridor on the south side of the structure, hunched over a red and maroon blanket.
Pelton began to walk away from the area and turned once to look directly at the officer who ordered him to stop (the same officer noted that he recognized Pelton, since he had to trespass him from a Circle K the previous day). On the way to intercept, the officer passed the corridor and saw that the blanket – pushed up against a wall to the office, which was filled with people – was ablaze.
Police apprehended Pelton and extinguished the fire. They found a red Race-Trac lighter and a pack of 305 menthols on his person, and they also discovered some marker graffiti on a door near the point of the fire.
The art featured a triangle with a cross drawn inside it, along with a poem that Pelton claimed was for his “best friend” – the infamous former boss of the Gambino crime family, John Gotti.
Police noted that the same cross-triangle image was drawn on another box of 305 menthol cigars near the corridor, but that didn’t add too much against Pelton, since he spontaneously admitted to three different officers that he indeed lit that fire.
Pelton spat all over the back cage of the police vehicle officers used to take him to the booking and release center, where he would be charged with arson of an occupied dwelling and criminal mischief, and wait with all fervent hope that his good pal John Gotti would come through with some bond money.