A Manchester man is facing 36 criminal counts in a string of bias attacks on Jewish residents in Manchester, the state Attorney General’s office and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s office announced Friday.
Ron Carr, 34, has been charged with 36 criminal counts, including charges of bias intimidation (first and third degree), aggravated arson (second degree), arson (third degree), and criminal mischief (fourth degree), a joint announcement from Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer said.
The charges stem from damage done to more than a dozen homes in Manchester from late Tuesday, June 6, through early Wednesday, June 7, authorities said.
Carr is accused of using an accelerant to set a fire that destroyed a house in the Pine Lake Park section; scrawling Nazi symbolism including swastikas on homes, residential fences and elsewhere, and was targeting Jewish residents, authorities said.
Manchester police responded to calls about vandalism of homes in the Pine Lake Park area at about 11:45 p.m., Tuesday, and determined 14 homes were vandalized, authorities said.
The locations are not being released to protect the victims’ identities, authorities said.
The structure fire was reported at 3:11 a.m. Wednesday, and authorities received reports regarding a suspicious person walking around in the vicinity of the fire. That person matched the description of the suspect in the criminal mischief incidents, who had been captured on security-camera footage, authorities said.
Manchester police located the suspect — now identified as Carr — in the area of Commonwealth Boulevard and Larchmont Street and arrested him, authorities said.
The house was destroyed in the fire and three additional homes suffered heat damage and flames spread to a wooded area behind the house. No injuries were reported.
Carr is being held at the Ocean County Jail in Toms River pending a detention hearing.
“This crime spree and the antisemitism that it expressed caused pain, destruction, shock and fear among the residents of Manchester Township,” Platkin said. “No community in the State of New Jersey should feel vulnerable or anxious in the face of acts of intolerance. No resident should feel their personal safety or their home is threatened by bigotry, persecution and violence.”
“This will not stand, and I commend the law enforcement professionals from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, the Manchester Township Police Department, and the Division of Criminal Justice for their dogged pursuit of the suspect and this quick arrest,” Platkin said.
“I am thankful no one was injured in these senseless acts of bigotry and hate,” Billhimer said. “This type of behavior will not be tolerated in Ocean County and the seriousness of these charges reflect our unwavering commitment to prosecuting bias crimes to the fullest extent of the law.”
First-degree charges carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $200,000. Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree charges can lead to a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. Fourth-degree offenses could lead to up to 18 months in state prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.