UNION COUNTY, NJ -- A Roselle man has been charged in connection with arson incidents committed last week in Linden, where the Scotch Plains Fire Department sent vehicles and personnel to help battle the blazes.
Acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo and Linden Police Chief David Hart jointly announced the arrest on Thursday. 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.
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 Ave. 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 Seymour Ave. in Linden, Spagnoli said. Shortly after midnight that same night, two additional fires were reported, one a brush fire located on East Curtis Street, the other a dumpster fire on the grounds of Soehl Middle School.
Shortly after 1:15 a.m., Linden police responded to ta report of a person throwing rocks through a glass door of a building on Roselle Street 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 , resulted in Wise being identified as the person responsible for all of the fires, as well as the break-in on Roselle Street. 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.