Case Snapshot
Case ID: 19161
Classification: Burning - Fire or Fireworks
Animal: cat, dog (non pit-bull)
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Friday, Jan 13, 2012

County: Cache

Charges: Misdemeanor, Felony Non-CTA
Disposition: Alleged

Alleged: Thomas Wesley Struchen

A disabled Logan man set fire to his parents house last week to create a "distraction" so he could run away to California, according to a police report.

Thomas Wesley Struchen, 35, was arraigned Tuesday before 1st District Judge Thomas Willmore on one first-degree felony count of aggravated arson and four counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, a class A misdemeanor.

The Cache County Attorney's Office alleges that Struchen used an accelerant to coax flames during the blaze last Friday at 1078 N. 200 East. The home sustained extensive damage, and the smoke it generated was blamed for the deaths of three dogs and a cat inside the home.

After a manhunt, police located Struchen later Friday at the Cache Valley Transit station in downtown Ogden, allegedly about to take a bus to California.

According to a police report, Struchen has "some disabilities" that forced him to move from Sacramento, his home of more than a decade, to his parents' home in Logan.

In an interview with police after his arrest, Struchen said he had lived in Logan for about a year and "hated his parents for taking him away from his friends and his job in Sacramento," the report states. Struchen reportedly told police he poured gasoline throughout the basement of the home and started the blaze.

"Thomas said that he lit the house on fire to cause a distraction to his parents so they didn't try to stop him from going to Sacramento," police wrote.

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