By: Yuritza Arroyo
Ocean County authorities announced that on March 10, Ricardo Buitron, 21, of Lakewood, was charged with two counts of Aggravated Arson, Robbery, and Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose in connection with a series of events that occurred in Lakewood Township on March 9.
According to Lakewood Police, on March 9, at approximately 11:30 p.m., a male entered Police Headquarters to report that he was the victim of a robbery that had just occurred in Lexington Avenue and Fourth Street.
Police say the victim reported that a male suspect approached him in this area while walking down the sidewalk, brandished a pair of scissors, and demanded money.
The victim reported that he was able to push the suspect into a nearby business on Lexington Avenue.
According to authorities, the suspect reportedly fled the area on foot in an unknown direction. The victim was able to give a description of the suspect to the police.
As Lakewood Township Police officers responded to the area, they were flagged down on Fourth Street by a witness who reported that a fire had been set behind a business.
Police say an investigation by officers determined that the owner of the business and the witness discovered a fire behind the store.
They extinguished the fire and began cleaning up the debris, when the noticed a second fire had been ignited in the same area which they were also able to extinguish.
According to authorities, the odor of gasoline was detected throughout the entire first floor basement of the three story commercial and residential structure.
The examination revealed two points of origin, the first being on a black sweatshirt and the second a cardboard box within the immediate vicinity of the rear of the structure.
Authorities say it was determined that the fires were intentionally set by open flame to an ignitable liquid.
Because of the quick suppression, the fires were contained to the sweatshirt and the cardboard box before spreading to the occupied structure.
According to Police, the physical description given to police of the arson suspect matched that of the robbery suspect. Through further investigation, Buitron was identified as the individual who committed both the robbery and the arsons.
A short time later, Buitron was apprehended by Lakewood Township Police officers in the area of Third Street and Clifton Avenue.
Buitron was processed and transported to the Ocean County Jail, where he is currently lodged pending a detention hearing.