Reporting Bill Shields
WEST BRIDGEWATER (CBS) – A Middleboro man was linked by investigators Thursday to 24 arsons in southeastern Massachusetts since late last year.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030′s Mark Katic reports
Mark Sargent, 45, and and his stepson Jeanmarie Louis, 23, were arrested Wednesday night for allegedly trying to burn a building in West Bridgewater.
At their arraignment Thursday afternoon in Brockton District Court, the prosecutor said authorities became suspicious of Sargent after a fire at a Marshfield marina on December 20.
“The same method was used in the fires ,” said Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz, “a kind of dura-flame log was set on fire, allowing the flames to climb the walls.”
Sargent first came to the attention of investigators last month, when a fire was set at a boatyard in Marshfield.
At the time, investigators spotted Sargent nearby and when they questioned him, he had no good reason to be in the area.
So they got a warrant, then planted a GPS device in his car, which later put his vehicle at the scene of at least eight arson fires.
“A serial arsonist strikes fear in the public,” said State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan.
He and Louis allegedly kept driving past the suspicious fire burning in West Bridgewater Wednesday night, apparently to watch firefighters work.
When police stopped their car later, officers said it smelled of gasoline and the two men were arrested.
Both pleaded not guilty to charges of setting the West Bridgewater fire and were ordered held without bail.