Creepy serial arsonist set fire to old Woodbury, NJ school, cops say
WOODBURY — A city man is accused of starting a series of fires this month that became more dangerous with each blaze.
Michael Lopez-Medina, 19, is charged with three counts of second-degree aggravated arson and one count of third-degree aggravated assault.
Lopez-Medina was arrested Sunday morning. He is being held at Salem County Jail.
The Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office said they worked around the clock with Woodbury police to find the arsonist behind the fires, believing he "posed a significant risk to the community."
Arson fires in Woodbury
Lopez-Medina was charged in connection to three fires in Woodbury this month.
Firefighters were called to the first blaze, a vehicle fire, on the 400 block of Salem Avenue around 4:15 a.m. on Feb. 1. First responders found two vehicles on fire at the scene.
Two days later, Woodbury firefighters responded to a shed fire at the Carriage House Apartments on North Evergreen Avenue. The fire department said on Facebook that the shed had already been reduced to "a pile of rubble" when they arrived shortly after 3:30 a.m.
Former Woodbury theater, school destroyed in blaze
The next arson came just a few days after the shed fire, prosecutors said.
On Feb. 7, flames and smoke began pouring from a vacant three-story building on Glover Street around 3:30 a.m., the Woodbury Fire Department said.
First built in 1899, the building was once home to the former West End School and, later, the former Sketch Club theater.
After standing for more than 120 years, the building was almost completely burnt to the ground.
Firefighters were pulled from the building before it partially collapsed. They had tried to put out the fire from the inside.
It took around two hours for fire crews to bring the bring under control.
Arsonist painted "Let's Play," report says
According to court documents obtained by NJ.com, Lopez-Medina may have begun his arson rampage after a woman said she did not want to date him.
The owner of one of the vehicles that was burned on Feb. 1 was a woman who had said she wasn't interested in him, the complaint said.
At the next two fires, investigators found creepy messages spray painted on the sidewalk. According to the report, the red spray-painted messages both said "Let's Play."
Lopez-Medina confessed to setting the fires in a police interview, the report said.
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