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Arsonist ripped taxpayers off for 150,000 gallons of water

By Walter Geiger Milner city administrator Harold Wilson said the Lighthouse restaurant fire required about 150,000 gallons of water to battle. Of that, 83,000 gallons will be billed to Milner at a cost of $240.55 $2.83 per 1000 gallons. The total cost for water alone will be about $425. ’We will pay Barnesville for the water and I don’t regret it. It could be my house someday,’ Wilson said. The total cost for water alone will be about $425. ’We will pay Barnesville for the water and I don’t regret it. It could be my house someday,’ Wilson said. After four weeks of intense investigation, Lamar sheriff’s deputies and personnel from the state fire marshal’s office made an arrest in connection with the July 10 fire that gutted the Lighthouse Restaurant on Old Hwy. 41 in Milner. Stephen Brehaut, 37, of 440 Trice Rd. in Milner was arrested August 7. Both Maj. Brad White of the Lamar sheriff’s office and Glenn Allen of insurance commissioner Ralph Hudgens’ office reported Brehaut confessed to intentionally setting the fire to collect insurance money. He was charged with one count of first degree arson and one count of insurance fraud and booked into the Lamar County jail. No other arrests are expected, according to Maj. White. There were unconfirmed reports security camera video footage implicated Brehaut in the crime. The admitted arsonist was due for a preliminary hearing August 16 but somehow arranged a superior court bond hearing the day after his arrest, was granted a $100,000 bond and was free in less than 24 hours. Brehaut is represented by attorney Larkin Lee of the Virgil Brown law firm in Zebulon. Bond in his case was posted by his aunt, Sherry Wise, and her firm, Bedsole Investments. Authorities said Brehaut was ‘co-owner’ of the Lighthouse with Wise. According to Georgia secretary of state Brian Kemp, Brehaut is secretary of Bedsole Enterprises, a Georgia for profit corporation. Wise is the chief executive officer and registered agent of the company. Brehaut’s late mother, Loretta Bedsole Brehaut, is listed as chief financial officer. Two other corporations bear the name Bedsole Investments. One is a general partnership. The other is a limited partnership. Wise is the only living listed officer of either. All three corporations are listed as active but in noncompliance status. According to Lamar tax records, Loretta Brehaut owned the house and five acres at 440 Trice Rd., Stephen Brehaut’s listed residence. Stephen Brehaut is on record as owning a duplex and 1.05 acres at 148 and 150 Brown Springs Rd.; a duplex and one acre at 172 and 174 Brown Springs Rd.; duplexes and 8.16 acres at 494 Trice Rd.; and a house and five acres at 306 Liberty Hill Rd. The Lighthouse fire raged for hours and endangered the lives of dozens of firefighters from multiple departments who responded to the blaze which investigators termed as suspicious from the start.

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