A Custer man faces charges of pouring gasoline on a woman in a tent and lighting a match late Saturday, July 16, when he got upset about a rug she’d taken from him, according to the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office.
Kurt Joseph Ebe, 60, had exchanged angry text messages throughout the day with the 54-year-old woman, who had been staying in a tent on his property in the 2300 block of Birch Bay-Lynden Road, said Undersheriff Jeff Parks.
Parks said Ebe accused the woman of stealing a rug that had sentimental value to him. She denied the theft. Ebe came home from work around 10 p.m., when he went outside and poured a can of gasoline on the tent and the woman. Then, the woman reported, Ebe lit a match for a few seconds and held a lit cigarette in his other hand.
Ebe called the woman a “skanky thieving (expletive),” according to a probable cause statement read in court. Once Ebe went back inside his mobile home, she ran to her car and dialed 911, Parks said. Sheriff’s deputies noted both the tent and the woman smelled strongly of gasoline. She wasn’t injured.
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The rug was found soaked in gas, Parks said.
Ebe eventually came out of his home and surrendered to law enforcement. A gas can was recovered from the home. Ebe admitted to pouring gasoline on the tent, but denied lighting a match, Parks said. Deputies booked him into jail around 2:30 a.m. to face a charge of assault in the first degree.
On Monday afternoon Superior Court Commissioner Alfred Heydrich maintained bail at $250,000, an amount that was set over the weekend in a telephonic hearing.
Ebe’s rap sheet in Washington shows five felony convictions over the past 20 years. Four are for heroin and drug possession; the fifth is for felony theft. He has kept a clean record since his release from prison in 2008.