Police: Homeless men in Mass. thwarted arson

AP News
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Posted: Sep 26, 2011 3:03 PM
Police: Homeless men in Mass. thwarted arson

Police in Massachusetts say two homeless men were offered money to burn down a rental house on Cape Cod but instead turned in the man who approached them.

Harwich and state police arrested 26-year-old Benjamin Parker on Saturday on charges including attempted arson and conspiracy. He pleaded not guilty Monday in Orleans District Court and was released on $10,000 bail.

Authorities allege Parker approached two homeless men in Boston last week and asked them if they wanted to make $1,100 by burning down a house.

Rather than accept the offer, the men alerted transit police.

Police say Parker left gasoline and rags in the home. State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan says the homeless men averted a potential tragedy.

Authorities declined to comment on a motive.