NJ man charged in neighborhood hate and arson spree
🔴 Ron Carr vandalized 14 homes in the Pine Lake Park area of Manchester
🔴 Police took him into custody near a house he is accused of setting on fire
🔴 Carr has had at least two other run-ins with the law in 2021 and 2022
MANCHESTER — The man charged with spray-painting swastikas on homes early Tuesday tagged 14 houses owned by Jewish residents and destroyed an under-construction home by setting it on fire, according to Attorney General Matt Platkin.
Ron Carr, 34, of Manchester, began vandalizing homes, fences and other property in the Pine Lake Park area late Tuesday night, Platkin and Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said in a joint statement. Carr was targeting homes owned by Jews, officials said.
Around 3:10 a.m. Wednesday, firefighters responded to a house fire in the same area. Police received reports of a suspicious person on Commonwealth Boulevard and Larchmont Street. Police arrested him after his image matched that of the person who vandalized the homes.
Fire set during a Red Flag Warning
The fire, set as a Red Flag Warning was in effect for conditions that would cause fire to spread quickly, completely destroyed the house. Three neighboring homes were damaged by heat and flames spread to a wooded area behind the house. No injuries were reported.
Carr was charged with 36 criminal counts, including first and third-degree bias intimidation, second-degree aggravated arson, third-degree arson and fourth-degree criminal mischief. After being taken to a medical facility he is being held at the Ocean County Jail pending a detention heading.
“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,” Billhimer said.
Manchester Police Chief Robert Dolan Jr. thanked members of law enforcement that were part of the investigation.
"Their tireless commitment, unwavering professionalism, and exceptional teamwork with other law enforcement agencies have once again demonstrated their unwavering dedication to ensuring the safety and security of our community. I am immensely proud of their efforts,” Dolan said.
Other charges in Manchester, Toms River
The vandalism is not Carr's first run-in with the law in recent years.
Carr was charged with resisting arrest in November by Manchester police after "numerous" residents reported a man peering into backyards. When police responded Carr ran and fought with officers before he was taken into custody.
He also admitted to using methamphetamine and falling asleep before crashing his car into a utility pole on Route 166 in Toms River in Dec. 2021, according to a report by Patch of Toms River.