FREEHOLD – An investigation into a string of arsons taking place on adjacent residential properties in Hazlet over the last five months has yielded an arrest, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago and Hazlet Police Chief Robert Mulligan jointly announced on Monday.    

Albert Caporaso, 49, of Hazlet is charged with seven counts of second-degree Aggravated Arson and single counts of third-degree Criminal Mischief and fourth-degree Resisting Arrest.    

On Saturday, December 2, 2023, members of the Hazlet Police Department and local firefighters responded to a pair of structure fires affecting abandoned homes on South Laurel Avenue in Hazlet. It was the first of six such callouts to the same addresses in all, with subsequent fires reported a week later, on Saturday, December 9, and on various dates in each of the next four months.

An investigation by members of the Prosecutor’s Office, Monmouth County Fire Marshal’s Office, and Hazlet Police Department resulted in Caporaso being identified as a suspect in the case. On the night of Thursday, April 25, while conducting surveillance in the area, members of the Hazlet Police Department spotted Caporaso attempting to set fire to a storage shed on one of the properties, and they took him into custody. He was then lodged in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution (MCCI) to await a first appearance in Monmouth County Superior Court, tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, May 1.  

Anyone with additional information about Caporaso’s activities is urged to contact MCPO Detective Michael Donovan III at 800-533-7443 or Hazlet Police Department Detective Russell Surdi at 732-264-0763.

This case is being prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Michael Luciano of the MCPO Major Crimes Bureau. Information about Caporaso’s legal representation was not immediately available.

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.