BRADENTON , Fla. (WWSB) - Deputies have arrested a 51-year-old man who they say attempted to kill his former roommate after he was kicked out over bedbugs that were found in his room.
Deputies say shortly after midnight on October 4, law enforcement and first responders were called to a fire at an apartment on the 100th block of 59th Avenue Drive East in Bradenton. The fire started in a bedroom and at the scene the sheriff’s office found a broken window with an unbroken beer bottle on the ground nearby.
An investigator from the State Fire Marshal’s Office determined the fire was started by the use of a Molotov cocktail and the unbroken bottle was one of two devices made.
Deputies spoke to the victim, who told them that earlier in the day, he found bedbugs inside of the room that he shared with Francisco Perez. He kicked Perez out over the bedbugs, placing Perez’ clothes outside and telling him he didn’t want him living there anymore. That’s when the victim says Perez threatened to kill him.
The victim told deputies he saw Perez leave with his clothes. Later that night, he woke up to the sound of glass breaking and a fire spreading inside his bedroom.
Deputies say that a nearby witness saw the altercation between Perez and the victim and Perez leaving with his clothes. At the time, the witness did not believe Perez meant his threat. But later, Perez returned to the area and was drinking with the neighbors.
The witness went to bed and woke up when the victim began yelling for help. From the window, the witness told deputies a person could be seen running away from the apartment and the fire and it looked like Perez.
Deputies located Perez and his vehicle on October 8 and say he denied having anything to do with the fire. The sheriff’s office obtained a search warrant and say in his vehicle they found material consistent with the wicks used for the Molotov cocktails, as well as a receipt from a gas station near the apartment showing a $10 purchase of gas and a beer around an hour and a half before the fire was set.
Perez was arrested on October 21 and charged with attempted murder and arson. He was taken to the Manatee County Jail.