◾ NJ duo charged with arson

◾ Young men also accused of graffiti

◾ String of incidents reported in a week

Two young men from Lacey Township were facing criminal charges, stemming from a destructive string of events in their town over a week.

Alexander Gerber (Ocean County Sheriff's Office) Lacey township park fire
Alexander Gerber (Ocean County Sheriff's Office)

As of Tuesday, 19-year-old Alexander Gerber and 20-year-old Connor Dougherty were charged with arson and four counts of criminal mischief, according to Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer.

Connor Dougherty (Ocean County Sheriff's Office)
Connor Dougherty (Ocean County Sheriff's Office)

Park fire

Lacey police officers on Nov. 21 found a fire in the women’s restroom in Gille Park.

The Lanoka Harbor Fire Department responded and put out the fire, which the Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office confirmed was intentionally set.

Days later on Sunday, police responded to Gille Park for a report of criminal mischief.

Gille Park in Lacey (Google Maps) park restroom fire graffiti
Gille Park in Lacey (Google Maps)

Officers found graffiti, including swastikas, spray painted in various spots in the park, as well as damage to the women’s restroom door.

More swastika graffiti

A full week after the first incident, on Tuesday, Lacey police found graffiti, including swastikas, on a clothing bin at the Mill Pond Basketball Courts.

There was also graffiti on the rear of the ShopRite building on North Main Street.

Gille Park, ShopRite in Lacey (Google Maps)
Gille Park, ShopRite in Lacey (Google Maps)

Officers were able to identify a Chevrolet pickup truck as linked to one of the incidents.

Shortly after, the truck was spotted traveling on Deerhead Lake Drive and police pulled it over.

Gerber was driving — he was taken into custody without incident.

Investigators later found Gerber and Dougherty had acted together in all four incidents, according to Billhimer.

Dougherty turned himself in at Lacey Township Police Headquarters the same day, the prosecutor said.

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