A local man is in custody and has been criminally charged in connection with a series of arsons committed on a single night last week in Linden, acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo and Linden Police Chief David Hart jointly announced Thursday.
Officials say Mr. Marcus D. Wise, 30, of Roselle is charged with two counts of second-degree aggravated arson, two counts of third-degree arson, and single counts of second-degree attempted aggravated arson, third-degree burglary, and fourth-degree criminal mischief.
According to officials , at approximately 10 p.m. on Thursday, July 25, members of the Linden Police Department and Linden Fire Department responded to the 800 block of North Wood Avenue on a report of a structure fire at a business, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor and Special Prosecutions Unit Supervisor Melissa Spagnoli, who is prosecuting the case.
Approximately 30 minutes later, members of the same departments responded to a report of a fire in a vacant home on the 900 block of Seymour Avenue in Linden, Spagnoli said. And shortly after midnight that same night, two additional fires were reported, one a brush fire located on the 20 block of East Curtis Street, the other a dumpster fire on the 300 block of East Henry Street, on the grounds of Soehl Middle School.
Shortly after 1:15 a.m., Linden Police Department officers responded to the 400 block of Roselle Street on a report of a person throwing rocks through a glass door of a building and found a suspect later identified as Wise at the scene. When taken into custody, he was found to be in possession of a lighter, a piece of cardboard, and a can of WD-40.
An investigation involving members of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Newark Field Division, the multi-jurisdictional Union County Fire Investigation Task Force, and the Prosecutor’s Office, Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit, and Linden Police Department, resulted in Wise being identified as the person responsible for all of the fires, as well as the break-in on Roselle Street.
Officials say he is currently being held at Union County Jail pending an evaluation to take place before his next Superior Court appearance, tentatively scheduled for 9 a.m. next Friday, August 9.
Anyone with information about these incidents is still being urged to contact Linden Police Department Detectives Matt Jones or Tim Hubert at 908-474-8537.
Convictions on second-degree criminal charges are commonly punishable by 5 to 10 years in state prison, while third-degree crimes can result in 3 to 5 years.
These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.