OKEECHOBEE — A Miami man faces at least five years in federal prison after pleading guilty to arson of the Handy Food Store on South Parrott Avenue, according to federal officials.
On Thursday in federal court, Christopher Van Hatcher, 33, of Miami, pleaded guilty to starting a fire in the store after breaking in to steal Florida Lottery scratch-off tickets, records show. The maximum sentence is 30 years in prison. Sentencing is Oct. 26 in federal court in Fort Pierce.
Before leaving the store, in the 1400 block of South Parrott Avenue, Hatcher set fire to the remaining lottery tickets. That caused extensive fire and smoke damage to the building, reports show.