ROSELLE, NJ — A Roselle man has been arrested and is being held for starting four fires in a matter hours in neighboring Linden, including one that severely damaged a medical office building and another that destroyed a vacant house, officials said.
According to an Aug. 1 press release from the Union County Prosecutor’s Office and Linden Police Department, Marcus D. Wise, 30, was arrested shortly after 1:15 a.m. on July 26 in the 400 block of Roselle Street when police responded to a report of a person throwing rocks through a glass door of a business in the area.
Wise was allegedly in possession of a lighter, a piece of cardboard and a can of WD-40 lubricating spray oil at the time.
He 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, the release said.
The charges stem from a series of fires that begame at approximately 10 p.m. on July 25, when Linden police and fire units responded to 809 North Wood Ave. for a blaze at a medical office building, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor and Special Prosecutions Unit Supervisor Melissa Spagnoli, who is prosecuting the case.
About 30 minutes later, another fire erupted at a vacant house on the corner of Seymour Avenue and Center Street, Spagnoli said.
And shortly after midnight, two additional fires were reported: a brush fire on the 20 block of East Curtis Street and a fire inside a large trash container in front of Soehl Middle School on East Henry Street.
Wise allegedly set all four fires and is responsible for a break-in on Roselle Street, according to an investigation by members of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Newark Field Division; the multijurisdictional Union County Fire
Investigation Task Force; UCPO; Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit; and Linden police. He was being held at Union County Jail pending an evaluation to take place before his next Superior Court appearance, tentatively scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday, Aug. 9.
Anyone with information about these incidents is still being urged to contact Linden police Detectives Matt Jones or Tim Hubert at 908-474-8537.
Convictions on second-degree criminal charges are commonly punishable by five to 10 years in state prison, while third-degree crimes can result in three to five years.