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Teens arrested in playground arson

April 15, 2009 12:12:13 PM PDT
Two teenagers have been arrested and charged in connection with a New Jersey playground fire that caused more than $25,000 in damage. Woodbridge Township Mayor John McCormac announced that an 18-year-old adult and a 17-year-old juvenile from Avenel were charged with intentionally setting fire to the playground equipment at the 5th District Park and Playground located in the Avenel section of Woodbridge Township.

"I am gratified that the Woodbridge Police Department was able to make arrests within hours of the fire," McCormac said. "These arrests send a strong message to anyone who thinks that setting a fire and destroying thousands of dollars of playground equipment is simply vandalism."

According to police chief William Trenery, the 18 year-old adult is identified as Amanda Gacina. The 17-year-old male juvenile has not been identified. Both defendants have been charged with arson and criminal mischief.

Both teens were arrested Tuesday. The investigation led detectives to the suspects, who were allegedly observed carrying large stacks of newspaper into the park in the early evening of April 13. Initial bail was set at $500 for Gacina. The 17-year-old juvenile was released to the custody of parents.

McCormac noted that on June 6, 2008, more than $65,000 in playground equipment was installed in the newly opened 5th District Park.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King


NEW YORK AND TRI-STATE AREA NEWS

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