MOORESVILLE, N.C. -- A Mooresville, N.C. man set a neighbor’s house and boat on fire, according to police, as they pursued him following a dispute with another neighbor.
Police responded to the 170 block of Neill Farm Road Monday evening. The homeowner told police Franklin Donaldson, who lives next door, came to his house and refused to leave.
He finally did by the time deputies arrived but allegedly punctured a tire on the homeowner’s vehicle as he left.
"I was very concerned, very dubious about the way he was acting,” said a neighbor who did not wish to be identified. “I didn't want to let him in, but he asked me to give him something to eat,” she said.
She says he stole her prescription medication off the counter, and noticed he had been drinking.
Deputies began searching the neighborhood for Donaldson, who despite having a broken neck from a previous incident, was not wearing his brace.
While police searched, they were told Donaldson stopped by another home down the street where he removed a North Carolina flag from the front porch and set it on fire in a trash can, police say.
“If they hadn’t coincidentally noticed the trash can on fire, they probably would have lost their car and probably the house would have gone with the car,” said one neighbor.
Deputies arrived, but Donaldson once again fled before they made it to the scene.
As they began searching with K-9’s, police learned a house on nearby Graycliff Drive had also been set on fire, as well as a boat at a neighboring home.
The homeowner next door says she was alerted by another neighbor driving by, that her boat was on fire.
"My children were very scared, wondering what's going on. Is there somebody out here to get us, is the house next,” she said.
Deputies caught up with Donaldson in the area. They took him into custody without incident. He was taken to the hospital for examination, since he had not been wearing the neck brace.
Donaldson, 51, received a $75,000 bond. He was booked into jail for arson, larceny and damage to personal property charges. More charges are expected.
“I would have never expected it,” said one neighbor. “Signs were there, things were not right. Maybe it was a cry for help.”