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A serial arsonist accused of setting fires along U.S. 1 on Florida’s Treasure Coast, including several blazes at recreational vehicle dealerships, has agreed to a plea deal with federal prosecutors, according to the Stuart News.
Benjamin Harris, 40, pleaded guilty Monday (July 11) in federal court to nine counts of arson. Harris was suspected of setting 30 fires along U.S. 1 between January 2003 and January 2005, and investigators also suspected him of fires set in Schenectady, N.Y., in 2001 and Beaufort, S.C., in 2001 and 2002.
Harris was living and working as an RV mechanic at Camper’s Connection in Fort Pierce, the site of three of the fires he was charged with, when he was arrested in February. He is also tied to a fire at Tropical RV Sales in Fort Pierce.
Harris could face between five and 20 years on each charge and a fine of $250,000, according to court records.
Investigators got their break in the case in December 2004 when a confidential informant agreed to wear a monitoring device and record conversations with Harris.
After his arrest, Harris allegedly admitted to setting several of the fires and showed investigators where and how he started the blazes, giving details only the one responsible would know, prosecutors said.