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Man, 77, accused of burning down neighbor’s residence in air conditioner dispute

TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested a 77-year-old man for allegedly burning down the residence of a neighbor in Higashikurume City last year, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Apr. 10).

At around 8:00 p.m. on November 8, Tetsuya Morita, of no known occupation, allegedly trespassed on the property of the residence and set it ablaze.

The subsequent fire burned the structure to the ground. A neighboring residence also caught fire and burned to the ground.

The targeted residence was occupied by four persons, including a 60-year-old man his 58-year-old wife. They all successfully fled the structure after the fire started. Nobody was inside the neighboring residence.

Tetsuya Morita (Twitter)

Upon his arrest on suspicion of arson and attempted murder, Morita denied the allegations. “I do not recall [the matter],” the suspect was quoted by police.

According to police, Morita repaired an air conditioning unit at the residence around eight years ago. The man paid Morita for the work. However, the two later engaged in a dispute over the amount paid.

Since January, Morita has been accused in two other cases involving the same residence. Last July, the suspect allegedly removed the wiring of the air conditioning unit to make it unusable. Then, after the fire, he allegedly dumped about 50 kilograms of garbage, including at least one tire and some furniture, onto the property.