Family: Man arrested in home burglary, arson

Jacksonville family says their neighbor robbed them, set home on fire

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A family in the Baldwin area is feeling relieved after they say police told them the man who robbed them and set their home on fire was put behind bars Friday.

The Dempsey family told Channel 4 Friday night that six weeks ago, while the family of six were away at a wedding, their home was burglarized.

Jason and Amanda Dempsey said their home on Magnolia Avenue was not only broken into but also set on fire.

"I was mad. I was angry, filled with hatred that somebody could do this to my kids," said Dempsey.

The thief broke in and stole money from their kids' piggy banks, took a joy ride in their father-in-law's car and then ended the night by setting the house on fire.

"The things you can't get back, the furniture, appliances, sure but the baby's first steps, pictures that weren't digital," said Jason Dempsey.

"How could somebody do this? Is this somebody we know? My husband works to take care of all six of us," said Amanda Dempsey.

The Dempsey family was informed Friday by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office that Everette Hicks (pictured) was arrested in connection with the crimes.

Hicks is being held at the Duval County jail on $165,000 bail, charged with attempted second-degree arson, grand theft, theft of a motor vehicle, burglary and arson to a dwelling.

"The security, all my four kids want to sleep in the same room because they don't want to be too far away, and they took that from my kids," said Amanda Dempsey. "They are resilient and they will bounce back but this is something, my 4-year-old son ends every sentence with 'It melted.'"

While the Dempsey's are relieved an arrest was made, they said they were shocked to learn that Hicks was the person arrested.

"He lives next door. He even came over and gave us gloves to work on the house. His girlfriend brought drinks over for the Girl Scouts in my troop, who came over to see if we were OK. To play on the swing set, he acted like nothing was wrong. Not a bit of remorse, not nothing," said Amanda Dempsey.

"I don't want to bear any ill will towards him," said Jason Dempsey. "It's difficult and I tear up, but prayer, he needs lots and lots of prayer, I hope he gets the help he needs."

Hicks is scheduled to be in court at 9 a.m. Saturday.

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