Roselle man charged with setting four fires within hours

Photo by Brian Trusdell
A blaze at a vacant home on the corner of Seymour Avenue and Center Street in Linden, one of four that broke out within hours of one another on the night of July 25 and morning of July 26, razed the structure to its foundation, leaving only a chimney and shell of a garage.

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.

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