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Cape Coral man arrested on arson charge

By Staff | May 31, 2013

A Cape Coral man allegedly stole a gas can from his neighbor’s driveway and started a fire inside of his residence before being detained – without any clothes on – by the police Wednesday night.

Salvatore Charles Catalano, 24, of 1144 N.W. Fifth Place, was arrested and charged with first-degree arson dwelling building people present. As of Thursday, he remained in custody on $100,000 bond.

According to a police report, a caller contacted 911 about the possible theft of a gas can. The caller reported that a neighbor, later identified as Catalano, had been “acting very unusual all day,” running around and finally pounding on his front door before running off with the half-full five-gallon can.

Catalano apparently dropped the gas can before making it back to his home.

He was later witnessed yelling and breaking things at his residence, the report states.

Officers responded to the home and made contact with Catalano, who was allegedly naked and acting “very agitated.” When Catalano saw the police, he ran into his residence. A few moments later, officers reportedly observed him run out into the garage and grab a gas can, then run back inside of the house.

A few moments later, Catalano jumped out of a side window, still naked. Police detained him.

Inside of the home, officers discovered that Catalano had apparently ignited the gas can in the guest bathroom. The fire was extinguished by police and emergency responders were called to the scene.

Fire investigators reported that the fire was incendiary in nature, and that it was caused by setting on fire an ignitable fluid, possibly gasoline, that had been poured in and around a pillow on the floor.

Catalano was taken into custody and transported to the Lee County Jail.

Police noted that he had suffered “minor scrapes and bruises throughout his active day.”

He was checked for the possibility of excited delirium and was medically cleared.

The neighbor did not want to press charges for the alleged gas can theft.

Catalano has a court appearance scheduled for July 1.