A Union County grand jury has returned a nine-count indictment against a Roselle man charging him with committing a series of arsons on a single night in Linden last summer, acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo announced Friday.
Marcus D. Wise, 30, is charged with two counts of second-degree aggravated arson, two counts of third-degree arson, two counts of fourth-degree criminal mischief, and single counts of second-degree attempted aggravated arson, third-degree attempted burglary, andfourth-degree throwing bodily fluids at a law enforcement officer.
At approximately 10 p.m. on Thursday, July 25, 2019, 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, a brush fire located on the 20 block of East Curtis Street and 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.
A joint investigation involving the Linden Police Department, the multi-jurisdictional Union County Fire Investigation Task Force, the Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit, the Prosecutor’s Office, and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Newark Field Division, identified Wise as the personresponsible for all of the fires, as well as the attempted burglary.
Wise was subsequently lodged in the Union County Jail.
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. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.