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Man arrested after allegedly attempting to set car aflame

ATWATER — An 18-year-old man was taken into custody by police this week after he tried to light a car on fire, according to Atwater Police Detective Armando Echevarria.

Suspect Tommy Kong of Delhi was arrested after a police officer saw him standing near a car parked in a driveway on the 3100 block of Dakota Street. Echevarria said the officer noticed flames coming from the hatch on the car’s gas tank.

After police approached the scene, Kong ran away; he was later found hiding in bushes nearby, Echevarria said.During an interview with police, Kong admitted starting the fire because someone he dropped off at the residence allegedly reneged on a promise to pay him gas money. The residents who lived at the home, however, said they didn’t know Kong, Echevarria said.

The car received minimal damage as a result of the incident, Echevarria said.

Kong was booked into Merced County Jail on suspicion of attempted arson, public intoxication and resisting arrest.