ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Christmas came far too early—and with bad intentions—for one St. Louis County family, as a University City man threatened to burn their house down.

According to a probable cause statement from the University City Police Department, the incident occurred on Aug. 28.

The defendant, identified as John Christmas, sent text messages to someone he knew threatening arson. In the middle of the night, police said Christmas drove to that person’s home, used a ladder to climb atop the residence, and dumped a five-gallon tank of gas on the roof.

Police said the victim and his family were home at the time. The victim called 911 but Christmas drove off before officers arrived.

Police viewed the text messages sent by Christmas and eventually apprehended him. He allegedly admitted to the crime, going as far as to say that if he was released, he would “do it again, but this time I’m going to light it!”

The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged Christmas with one count of first-degree attempted arson.

Prosecutors said Christmas has prior arrests for making a terroristic threat, possession of a firearm by a felon, and battery – family violence. He also has a prior conviction in St. Louis City for knowingly burning.

Christmas, 39, remains jailed on a $100,000 cash-only bond. He’s also not allowed within 1,000 feet of the victim’s home.