Attempted arson arrest after mail dispute leads to gasoline fire, Merced police say

Arson suspect arrested after mail dispute leads to attempted gasoline fire, police say

Thomas Housley, 69 (image courtesy of Merced Police Department)

MERCED, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A 69-year-old man is under arrest for attempted arson after police say he attempted to burn down a Merced building following a dispute about mail.

According to Merced Police Department, officers responded to a multi-unit housing complex at 314 W. 19th Street. Witnesses told officers that the suspect had lit paper on fire and poured gasoline on top of that in an attempt to burn the building down. The fire was extinguished by a resident before officers arrived.

The suspect, 69-year-old Thomas Housley, was arrested at the scene.

According to police, the incident stemmed from a dispute Housley had with tenants about missing or withheld mail. Housley was booked into Merced County Jail arrested on suspicion of attempted arson.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Officer A. Arias at (209) 385-6905 or by email at

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