MANKATO — A Mankato man is accused of breaking into a neighbor’s house, stealing a gun and starting a small fire Friday night.
Michael Patrick Tischler, 29, was charged with felony counts of arson, burglary and theft Monday in Blue Earth County District Court.
Tischler has not been charged in connection with an exterior fire found Thursday at the same residence.
According to Mankato police reports and court documents:
Minor fire damage to the exterior of a house at 337 Crystal Circle was discovered Thursday morning. Mankato Department of Public Safety investigators suspected arson.
Another neighbor reported an active fire at 337 Crystal Circle around 10:20 p.m. Friday. Firefighters found carpeting on fire in a basement bedroom of the unoccupied residence.
Investigators noted signs of a burglary. The bedroom window was unlocked and the screen was pushed in. Drawers were opened and it appeared someone had rummaged through them.
The neighbor who called 911 told authorities Tischler had informed him the neighbor’s house was on fire.
Before that, Tischler had been alone outside.
Tischler later confessed to breaking in and starting the Friday fire, the charges say. He told a detective he was angry and wasn’t thinking clearly and regretted his actions. He tried to make it look like a burglary, he allegedly said.
He told police he knew his neighbors weren’t home and he didn’t intend to hurt anyone.
The homeowners later discovered a handgun was missing from a dresser. Tickler allegedly admitted he took the gun and threw it in a ditch behind the house. The gun was recovered.