A Turlock man accused of trying to set his girlfriend’s house on fire while she and five others were inside was arrested over the weekend.
The incident occurred Feb. 25 at a home in the 100 block of West Syracuse Avenue, behind Souza Propane. Turlock police Detective Jason Tosta said the propane company owns that block and stores propane tanks around the properties. The tanks, he said, range in capacity from 150 gallons to 1,000 gallons.
The man had fought with his girlfriend the night before the incident and was kicked out of his home, police said. The girlfriend refused to speak with him when he returned the next day.
Witnesses told police that he proceeded to open the valves on 15 propane tanks surrounding the property, then used matches to light cardboard on fire near the house, according to Tosta. The man also made statements that he was going to “blow them all up,” Tosta said.
Five other people live in the home with the girlfriend. They all came outside, and a few chased away the man, police said. Firefighters arrived and shut the propane valves, and police officers took a report.
The man was identified by police as 36-year-old Joseph Tosta, who is no relation to Detective Tosta.
Local agencies were alerted that Joseph Tosta was wanted.
Turlock officers found him Saturday afternoon, walking in the area of Wayside Drive and Pioneer Avenue.
Joseph Tosta ran when he saw officers but was detained after a short pursuit, police said.
He was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, aggravated arson, arson with the use of an accelerant, arson with a prior arson conviction and making criminal threats.
Joseph Tosta is being held at the Stanislaus County jail on $525,000 bail.