Modesto police investigating arson attempt

Modesto police today are investigating why a 25-year-old man tried to set his home on fire.

Police received a call Monday afternoon from a resident in the 2200 block of Carver Road who said their neighbor, Shalendra Ram, could be seen in his back yard with a gas can apparently trying to set fire to an unknown object, according to Sgt. Rick Armendariz, a Modesto Police Department spokesman.

The resident also said Ram recently had been behaving “weird and was mentally distraught.”

When police arrived, they saw Ram with what appeared to be a handgun.

As a precaution, police blocked off the area around the house that’s between Mount Vernon Drive and West Briggsmore Avenue, and evacuated a next-door-neighbor.

Within several minutes, Ram was arrested without incident.

A search of his house did not produce a handgun and Armendariz said police still don’t know what Ram was holding. Police and firefighters did, however, find a mattress soaked in gasoline and marked with burns.

Ram was booked into the Stanislaus County Jail on suspicion of attempted arson and a probation violation.

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