x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Man set fire to house while family was asleep inside, police say

A man who police say had a grudge against a 17-year-old boy set fire to his house while the teenager and his family were sleeping inside.

DUBAI // A man who was on the run after throwing petrol bombs into a house and setting fire to it while the family was sleeping inside was arrested yesterday, police said.

No one was injured in the blaze.

The suspect, a 26-year-old unemployed Emirati, allegedly set fire to the house - which was occupied by an Emirati family of 12 - in retaliation for an argument he had earlier with a 17-year-old male member of the family. The reason for the argument is unclear.

"He was arrested yesterday at around 6.30pm," said Col Ali Ghanem, director of the Bur Dubai Police station. "He is denying the charges but we have material evidence against him."

Col Ghanem would not disclose further details, but said the suspect has an extensive criminal record.

The man reportedly threw several petrol bombs into the outside entrance of the house, located in Al Quoz 1 behind the cemetery, on January 18 at 2am.

When the family members awoke and noticed the smoke, they rushed outside in a state of shock and fear, police said.

The flames first erupted on a sofa that had been at the entrance of the house. Then it spread to the family's vehicles, police said.

The house sustained partial damage, and three family vehicles were destroyed.

Immediately after the blaze, the family singled out the suspect.

Police began surveillance of the places he frequented. They found and arrested him yesterday.

Police declined to give the location of the arrest.

"The suspect apparently had threatened the young boy at an earlier stage, but the family did not report the incident to the police," Col Ghanem said.

The case has been referred to the public prosecution.