For Immediate Release
Queens Man Charged with Arson for Allegedly Setting Nine Cars Ablaze in South Ozone Park
Defendant Faces Up To 15 Years In Prison if Convicted
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, the New York City Fire Department Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro and Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent-in-Charge with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives , New York Field Division, announced today that a 29-year-old Queens man has been charged with arson and other crimes for allegedly setting nine separate fires to vehicles in his South Ozone Park neighborhood between December 2017, and February 2018.
District Attorney Brown said, “In both December of last year and February of this year, the defendant is alleged to have set various vehicles on fire. These bizarre sprees damaged property as well as endangered the lives of people in the neighborhood and responding firefighters. These were senseless, frivolous acts - and if proven true - the defendant will face serious prison time.”
Fire Commissioner Nigro said, “These alleged reckless acts of arson not only damaged the property of numerous Queens residents, but needlessly diverted firefighting resources that otherwise should have been available if needed for true life-threatening emergencies. Our fire marshals will track down and apprehend anyone who uses fire to damage property or endanger lives in our City.”
ATF New York Field Division Special Agent-in-Charge Benedict said, “The alleged acts of the defendant are careless acts that could have caused serious injury or loss of life to first responders and others in the surrounding community, in addition to the damage to personal property. I would like to thank the NYPD and the agents, detectives and fire marshals assigned to the ATF/NYPD/FDNY Strategic Explosives and Arson Response Task Force for their diligent work on this case. I would also like to extend my gratitude to the Queens District Attorney’s Office for their work in prosecuting this case.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Evan Person, 29, of Linden Boulevard in the South Ozone Park neighborhood of Queens. The defendant was arraigned late this afternoon on a complaint charging him with third-degree arson and third-degree criminal mischief before Queens Criminal Court Judge Toni Cimino. The defendant was held on $250,000 bond/$150,000 cash bail and ordered to return to court on March 28, 2018. If convicted, Person faces up to 15 years in prison.
District Attorney Brown said that, according to the criminal complaint, on December 15, 2017, starting at 7 a.m. and continuing throughout the morning and into the afternoon, firefighters responded to five different addresses on and near 116th Avenue where vehicles had been set ablaze. A 2006 Nissan, a 1998 Mercedes Benz, a 2000 Ford Excursion, a 2009 Nissan and a 2014 Mercedes Benz were all damaged by fires that had been intentionally set.
Continuing, District Attorney Brown said, according to the complaint, the defendant is alleged to have also set fire to four additional vehicles on February 6, 2018. Firefighters responded to calls starting shortly after midnight and extinguished flames coming from a 1998 Honda Civic, a 2003 Mitsubishi, a 2008 Kia and a Buick. The cars were all located in and around 124th Street, also in South Ozone Park, Queens.
The investigation was conducted by Fire Marshals Keith Donovan and John Burns, under the supervision of Supervising Fire Marshal Joseph Sullivan, of the New York City Fire Department’s Bureau of Fire Investigations Auto Fraud Squad. District Attorney Brown expressed his appreciation to the Strategic Explosives and Arson Response Task Force of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for its assistance in the investigation.
Assistant District Attorney Mary Lowenburg, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Organized Crime and Rackets Bureau, is prosecuting the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Gerard A. Brave, Bureau Chief, and under the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney for Investigations Peter A. Crusco.
It should be noted that a criminal complaint is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Note to Editors: Press release e-version posted at www.queensda.org.