mcpo shieldFREEHOLD – A former Holmdel Township man is facing charges he deliberately set a pair of fires and fired a weapon into a township business, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Leonard J. Mazzarisi, III, formerly of Burgundy Drive in Holmdel, is charged with two counts of second degree Aggravated Arson, second degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, third degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, and third degree Criminal Mischief.

On Aug. 19, 2017, Holmdel police responded to a report of a possible arson at 51 Main Street in the township, the site of the Neuhaus Realty Agency. Evidence collected there suggested that a fire that damaged a portion of the rear of the building was purposefully set. A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Holmdel Township Police Department determined the fire was purposefully set by a male captured on video surveillance cameras.

On Jan. 27, 2018 at about 10:18 p.m., Holmdel police responded to a second fire at the same Main Street location, finding heavy smoke and fire emanating from the rear of the structure. Firefighters from the Holmdel Fire Department responded to the scene but the structure sustained extensive damage. An investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, the Holmdel Township Police Department and the Monmouth County Fire Marshal’s Office determined this second fire to also be an act of arson, closely resembling the August 2017 fire.

On May 29, 2018, Holmdel police were dispatched to 4 South Holmdel Road on the report of a BB gun being fired into the building.  The location is the newest location for Neuhaus Realty, which had been forced to relocate as a result to the January 27th fire damage. Detectives from Holmdel Township Police Department reviewed additional surveillance video to determine Mazzarisi was responsible for firing the BB gun into the window of the building, and that he was driving a vehicle that matched the vehicle seen in the video at the January 2018 arson at the former Neuhaus Realty location.

The following day, on May 30, 2018, Mazzarisi was located at a hotel in Fredericksburg, Virginia, where he was arrested on outstanding warrants stemming from the investigation. Mazzarisi was held at the Rappahannock Regional Jail in Stafford, Virginia until he was extradited back to New Jersey on June 12, 2018 to face these charges.

Mazzarisi is scheduled to next appear in Superior Court on Tuesday, June 19, 2018 for a detention hearing in this case.

On each count of Aggravated Arson, Mazzarisi faces a sentence of up to 10 years in a New Jersey state prison, subject to the provisions of the "No Early Release Act" (NERA) requiring him to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for release on parole. He would also be under parole supervision for five years following his release from state prison.

If convicted of Possession of Weapon for an Unlawful purpose, he faces a sentence of five to ten years in prison with a period of up to 5 years that must be served prior to becoming eligible for parole.

If convicted of Unlawful Possession of a Handgun, Mazzarisi faces three to five years in state prison with a period of up to 42 months that must be served prior to becoming eligible for parole. 

If convicted of Criminal Mischief, he faces up to 18 months in state prison.

Anyone with information about this case is urged to contact Detective Brian Weisbrot of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 1-800-533-7443, or Detective Sgt. Theodore Sigismondi of the Holmdel Township Police Department at 732-946-4400.

Anyone who feels the need to remain anonymous but has information about a crime can contact Monmouth County Crime Stoppers confidential telephone tip-line by calling 1-800-671-4400; can text "MONMOUTH” plus their tip to 274637; or, they can email a tip via the website at www.monmouthcountycrimestoppers.com.  Monmouth County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of criminals and fugitives.

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Christopher J. Decker, Director of the Office’s Major Crimes Bureau.

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.