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Press Release

Serial Arsonist Sentenced To Five Years In Federal Prison For Setting Fires To Publix Store

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Mary S. Scriven has sentenced Robert Timon Lovett (50, Bradenton) to five years in federal prison for arson. 

Lovett had pleaded guilty on September 29, 2021.

According to court documents, on three consecutive dates in 2020 (December 25, 26, and 27), Lovett started a fire at a Publix store in Bradenton, Florida.  On December 26 and 27, Lovett actually entered the store and purchased the lighter fluid he used to start the fires, both of which he set while the store was open for business. The fire he set on December 26 caused significant heat damage to the back of the store.

Law enforcement officers apprehended Lovett on December 28, 2020, when he returned to the same Publix and again purchased lighter fluid. In a statement to law enforcement, Lovett admitted to starting the fires on each of the three preceding days.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Charlie D. Connally.

Updated December 16, 2021