Effingham Co. Sheriff's Office: Suspect set cat on fire - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

ECSO: Auto theft suspect set cat on fire

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Charles Lambert (Source: ECSO) Charles Lambert (Source: ECSO)

A Springfield man, who deputies say stole a car then sped off from with his toddler son in the car, now is facing animal cruelty charges.

Effingham County deputies say Charles Lambert, 29, set his mother-in-law's cat on fire before taking off with his son in her car.

About 8 p.m. Monday, the sheriff's office responded to a report of an auto theft on Elbert Arnsdorff Road. 

Effingham County deputy and spokesman David Ehsanipoor spotted the car off Ga. 21 and pulled Lambert over. Ehsanipoor said that when he walked up to the car, Lambert sped off.

Ehsanipoor didn't follow for the safety of the child.

Instead, deputies tracked the car to a mobile home off Turkey Branch Road. Lambert was barricaded inside, according to Ehsanipoor. Deputies kicked in the door.

"He fought deputies," Ehsanipoor said. "He kicked deputies, and we actually had to subdue him with a taser."

Lambert was arrested and charged with theft by taking an automobile, first-degree cruelty to children, child endangerment, possession of controlled substance, felony obstruction of a law enforcement officer, battery on a law enforcement officer, escape, DUI and crossing guard lines with contraband.

It wasn't until the next day that Lambert's mother-in-law, Renee Edwards, realized Pepper, the cat she'd bottle-fed from a kitten, was gone. She found him burned to death in a shed, laying in a Red Flyer wagon. 

Deputies say an autopsy revealed the cats' bones were broken. They say Lambert doused it in gasoline and then set it on fire.

Lambert was denied bond by Effingham Chief Magistrate Judge Scott Hinson.

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