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Neighbors say suspect in Collinwood house arson was prior resident

Posted at 3:58 PM, Dec 20, 2019

CLEVELAND — The suspect accused of setting an abandoned home on fire in Cleveland's Collinwood neighborhood on Thursday has been charged with aggravated arson.

According to authorities, Bennie Stovall, 52, is charged with one count of aggravated arson in connection with Thursday's attempted fire at a home on Argus Avenue. Jail records state that Stovall poured gasoline on the house and lit it with an open flame.

Neighbors told News 5 that Stovall lived in the home for many years. Court records state that Stovall lost the home to foreclosure several years ago and was evicted in May.

Rose Clark, who lives next door to the home, said investigators told her of the arrest Thursday night.

"He knocked on the door, said we have him, we got him" Clark said. "We said who? He said Benny."

Since May, there have been five arson incidents at the home, including two fires at the home this week. Someone also set fire to the home's garage this week.

"He wanted it burned to the ground," said Dave Jackson who lives across from the home. "He didn't want nothing left."

Stovall has been charged for the most recent attempt. The other incidents remain under investigation.

Investigators have not said what the motive for the arson was.

On Friday evening, crews began demolition of the home involved in the arson incidents.

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