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Gulfport man accused of setting home on fire, killing 10 exotic birds and two cats

Thomas L. Bennett Jr. faces charges of arson and animal cruelty. [Photo courtesy Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]

Thomas L. Bennett Jr. faces charges of arson and animal cruelty. [Photo courtesy Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]

GULFPORT — A man accused of setting fire to a home June 3, killing 10 exotic birds and two cats, was arrested Tuesday, according to the office of Florida's Chief Financial Officer.

Thomas L. Bennett, Jr., 51, faces charges of first-degree arson and animal cruelty. The State Fire Marshal's office investigated the blaze, which tore through much of a home at 6124 10th Ave. S, causing about $80,000 in damage.

Investigators said Bennett had argued with a woman inside his house, then doused the garage in gasoline and lighter fluid and lit it on fire. He next moved into the living area, authorities said, trying to use a propane blow torch to set the carpet and furniture on fire.

He was being held on $50,000 bail.

No further information was immediately available.

Gulfport man accused of setting home on fire, killing 10 exotic birds and two cats 06/23/16 [Last modified: Thursday, June 23, 2016 10:27am]
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