The man charged with criminal damage to property for a fire Nov. 16 that destroyed a Pembroke home has a long criminal history, authorities say.
Cecil R. Sparks, 47, of Brooklet, who was initially identified as Cecil R. Sparkes by state officials but whose surname in the Georgia Department of Corrections online database is listed as Sparks, has been locked up off and on in Georgia facilities since 1990, according to the website. He’s also been in trouble in Florida and Louisiana, officials say.
Before he was arrested Nov. 19 on theft charges in Bryan County, Sparks was most recently at the Coastal Transition Center in Savannah, where he was released April 14, 2019 after serving two years for receiving stolen property.
He also did time for similar crimes in Ware County, Telfair County, McIntosh County and Bulloch County, where he spent time in jail for a 1990 burglary.
Sparks also has been convicted of aggravated assault and escape, according to the state DOC website.
Sparks was caught at the Dollar General on Highway 280 in Black Creek after Bryan County Sheriff ’s Office deputies were alerted by Pembroke police that he was in a stolen 2002 Toyota Highlander. He was arrested inside the Dollar General and the SUV was returned to its owner.
State investigators said the fire began in the 90-year-old home’s laundry room. Pembroke Fire Department firefighters responded to a call around midnight Nov. 16 found the house fully enveloped in flames, according to authorities.
Four children were inside the home, and while three got out unharmed a 13-year-old boy was taken to the Burn Center in Augusta for treatment due to smoke inhalation. He has since recovered, authorities said.
The family has since found a place to stay.
Sparks is in jail