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New Jersey Duo Arrested for Setting a Fire and Spray-Painting Swastikas at Park and School

Two Lacey Township residents have been arrested on charges they set a fire and spray-painted swastikas at a park, school and grocery store in their town, police said.

Alexander Gerber, 19, and Connor Dougherty, 20, are charged with third-degree arson and four counts of criminal mischief accusing them of a crime spree that vandalized three separate locations, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office said Wednesday.

The first incident was reported Nov. 21 when Lacey Township police discovered a fire in the women’s restroom at Gille Park. The Lanoka Harbor Fire Department extinguished the fire and determined it was intentionally set, the prosecutor’s office said.

On Sunday, graffiti was found and swastikas were spray painted at various locations around Gille Park. Police also found damage to the women’s restroom door at the park.

Officers found more graffiti and swastikas Tuesday on a clothing bin at the Mill Pond Elementary School basketball courts, and another swastika was found on the rear of the ShopRite building on North Main Street, the prosecutor’s office said.

Authorities identified a Chevrolet pickup associated with at least one of the incidents at 3:25 p.m. on Tuesday, police stopped the pickup on Deerhead Lake Drive, officials said. Gerber was driving and was taken into custody, police said.

Both men are being held at the Ocean County jail pending a detention hearing.

Source: https://www.nj.com/ocean/2023/11/2-young-men-charged-with-painting-swastikas-setting-a-fire-in-nj-town.html