Myrtle Beach police charge man in fires at motels, City Hall

troot@thesunnews.comDecember 11, 2013 

— Myrtle Beach police charged a 22-year-old man in connection with three separate fires at Ocean Boulevard motels, a fire at City Hall and the sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl, according to authorities.

Phillip Michael Thomas Homan, 22, was taken into custody Tuesday and charged with four counts of third-degree arson, three counts of second-degree burglary, firebombing a public building and second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, Myrtle Beach police Capt. David Knipes said.

Police charged Homan in the Dec. 3 fire at Myrtle Beach City Hall that caused an estimated $2,000 in damages to the side of the building. Two people were spotted by witnesses running away from it after a loud explosion, according to police.

A police report said officers learned that two employees from a nearby Fresh Brewed Coffee reported the fire about 11 p.m. Dec. 3 and extinguished it. A window screen was damaged, but the windows were not broken.

That same day at 7 p.m., firefighters were called to the Sportsman Motor Inn at 1405 S. Ocean Blvd., for a blaze, according to a separate report. Fire crews extinguished the blaze inside a room of the vacant motel and said it appeared the door had been forced open.

Police charged Homan in that fire and two others at the Holiday South motel at 2605 S. Ocean Blvd., according to police reports. Those fires occurred at 7:45 p.m. Nov. 16 and 1 p.m. Nov. 22.

In the first blaze, police learned witnesses reported seeing two people near the motel before the fire, according to the report. In the second blaze, officers learned that the fire was started in three different rooms on the third floor.

Damage was estimated at $100,000 from those fires, according to the report.

In an unrelated incident that was reported on July 19, 2010, Homan was identified by a then 12-year-old in connection with a sexual assault, according to that report. A 10-year-old girl at that time also told police that Homan had kissed her.

A records check with the State Law Enforcement Division showed that Homan had been arrested previously and convicted of shoplifting in 2008, 2010 and 2011 in Myrtle Beach. In those incidents he was sentenced to one year on probation and he served six months in jail.

In 2011, Homan was charged in Myrtle Beach with breaking into a automobile and sentenced to a year in prison, according to records. In 2012, Myrtle Beach police charged Homan with petty larceny, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and possession of burglary tools.

Records showed he was convicted of those charges in July 2012 and given a sentence of time served since his arrest in June.

Contact TONYA ROOT at 444-1723 or follow her at Twitter.com/tonyaroot.

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