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Man allegedly disabled alarm before setting fire to ex's Spanish Town apartment building

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BATON ROUGE - A man was arrested for arson after investigators determined he set fire to an apartment complex at the edge of Baton Rouge's historic Spanish Town district. 

The Baton Rouge Fire Department said Ihab Mustafa was arrested after the fire at Lake Tower Apartments at 999 North 9th Street on Monday. There were 50 people inside the complex at the time of the fire.

Investigators believe Mustafa sabotaged the building's fire alarm, meaning several tenants didn't wake up until they smelled smoke inside their units. The building did not sustain any major damage, according to the fire department. 

One of the tenants told fire investigators she believed her ex-boyfriend, Mustafa, was responsible for the arson and that she had received harassing and threatening messages. Security footage also showed what appeared to be Mustafa coming and going from the complex around the time of the fire.

After the fire, the victim showed officers screenshots of texts she had been ignoring, which included threats like "I swear to god this is the worst mistake you ever made." While she was speaking with detectives, police noted that Mustafa called the woman again from a blocked number and demanded she tell him where she was. When she refused to tell him, he allegedly told her, "I'll find out."

She also alleged that Mustafa had placed a tracking device somewhere on her vehicle, which he used to keep tabs on her. 

Mustafa was arrested Tuesday and booked with aggravated arson and one count each of burglary, criminal damage to property, and terrorizing. A judge ordered Thursday that Mustafa remain jailed without bond until his next hearing on Dec. 14.

Editor's note: The fire department initially reported that Mustafa was booked on 50 counts of aggravated arson. A spokesperson later clarified that he was booked on just one count of aggravated arson, among other charges. 

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