MANCHESTER TOWNSHIP — Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced today that a suspect has been arrested on numerous charges in connection with a fire that gutted a house and anti-Semitic graffiti spray-painted on several homes in Manchester Township late Tuesday, June 6, and into the early morning on Wednesday, June 7, 2023.
Ron Carr, 34, of Manchester, was 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). The charges stem from damage done to more than a dozen homes, including Carr’s alleged use of an accelerant to set a fire that razed a house in the township’s Pine Lake Park section. The investigation revealed that he also scrawled Nazi symbolism on homes, residential fences and elsewhere, and was targeting Jewish residents.
Manchester Township Police responded to calls about vandalism of homes in the Pine Lake Park area at about 11:45 p.m., Tuesday, June 6, 2023. Manchester Township Police determined that 14 homes were vandalized. The locations of the defaced properties are not being released to protect the victims’ identities.
At about 3:11 a.m. on June 7, 2023, authorities responded to a structure fire in the same neighborhood and received reports regarding a suspicious person on foot in the vicinity of the fire. That individual matched the description of the suspect in the criminal mischief incidents, who had been captured on security-camera footage. Manchester Township Police located the suspect in the area of Commonwealth Boulevard and Larchmont Street and took him into custody.
The house was destroyed in the fire, three additional homes suffered heat damage and flames spread to a wooded area behind the house. No injuries were reported.
Carr is currently in a medical facility and will be transported to the Ocean County Jail in Toms River pending his detention hearing.
“This crime spree and the antisemitism that it expressed caused pain, destruction, shock and fear among the residents of Manchester Township,” said Attorney General Platkin. “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.”
“I am thankful no one was injured in these senseless acts of bigotry and hate. 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,” said Prosecutor Billhimer.
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.
Deputy Attorney General Valerie Butler is prosecuting the case for the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice in conjunction with Ocean County Assistant Prosecutor Ashley Angelo. The investigation is being conducted by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Major Crime Unit, Arson Squad, and Bias Crime Unit, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit and the Manchester Township Police Department, under the leadership of Chief Robert M. Dolan Jr.
The charges are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.