CERES, Calif. (AP) - Authorities say an appliance-stealing burglar caused an explosion that destroyed a vacant home and damaged nearly two dozen other houses in Stanislaus County.
Police say the house exploded at 5:40 a.m. Saturday and broke windows on 21 neighboring homes in Ceres, just south of Modesto. No one was injured.
Officials say on Friday night neighbors saw a man removing appliances from the home and later noticed a bad smell.
Police say after firefighters extinguished the blaze, they discovered the stove was missing and a gas line had been left open. It's unclear if the line was left open accidentally or intentionally.
The Modesto Bee reports police recently investigated the same house for marijuana cultivation. On Aug. 30 police searched the home and arrested a 20-year-old man on marijuana charges.