A Milton man was arrested by authorities this week after he allegedly set fire to a kitchen by burning pizza boxes on an oven top, while he ransacked the home, according to a police report.
The owner of a Gulf Breeze home returned to find his house unlocked and full of smoke. He noticed differences in the way he left the residence, so he armed himself with a baseball bat from his bedroom. In the bedroom, he encountered 26-year-old Christopher Manning rummaging through personal items.
The victim told authorities Manning said they went to high school together, but the victim did not recognize Manning at all. The homeowner said he felt threatened, left the residence and went to a neighbor's house to call police.
Authorities arrived and found the homeowner standing in the front yard with the baseball bat. He warned the officer of the man who was still inside the house.
The officer advised the homeowner to stay outside as he entered the home with his duty weapon drawn. The officer saw Manning, who was wearing only a pair of white shorts. Manning was ordered to put his hands up and get on the ground, in which he complied.
Manning was asked if he had any weapons, and he reached towards his back pocket while he was lying on his stomach. The officer advised him to not reach for anything. Manning was held there in that position until backup arrived.
Backup arrived and placed Manning into custody. A utility knife was found during a search of his possessions. The 26-year-old had a cast on his right arm, so the handcuffs were placed around the index finger and thumb.
The burglar told authorities that he was invited over for a pool party. Authorities noted in the report that there was no pool on the property. The officers noticed a strong odor of alcohol on his breath.
Officers noticed there was a fire extinguisher on an island countertop in the kitchen and it appeared that someone stopped the fire. The home suffered an estimated $1,200 worth of damage to the stove, a suspended, over-the-stovetop microwave.
Manning was taken to the Gulf Breeze Police Department for processing and paperwork and then transported to the Santa Rosa County jail where he was booked on three charges. He is charged with arson, criminal mischief and burglary. His bond is listed at $105,000. He provided his address in the 5800 block of Quietwood Drive in Milton.