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Man arrested for east Athens homeless camp arson fire

Stephen Dalton Sims

By Joe Johnson

A man reportedly was arrested Friday night for allegedly setting a tent on fire at an east Athens homeless camp.

An Athens-Clarke County police spokesman said officers responded at about 8:10 p.m. to a request by firefighters for assistance with a fire in a wooded area on the property of Covenant Presbyterian Church on Gaines School Road where a homeless camp had been established.

“Witnesses advised (officers) that a male, later identified as Stephen Dalton Sims was seen setting a tent on fire in the camp,” said ACCPD Public Information Specialist Geof Gilland. “The tent belonged to another individual in the camp.”

Sims was arrested and charged with first-degree arson, Gilland said

According to Gilland, police were investigating to see if the arson fire was related to an aggravated that occurred the day before at the same location, and in which Sims was a suspect.

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