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May 13, 2019

Multiple Charges for Man Who Allegedly Set House on Fire, Stole Car and Fled

Billie Garcia Union Beach Arrest Stolen

On May 10 at approximately 3:15 pm, the Union Beach Police Department and Emergency Services responded to a fire located at 126 Dock St. in Union Beach. The residence was unoccupied at the time. While on scene, dispatchers received a call for a hit and run incident located a block away from the ongoing fire. UBPD officers responded to the hit and run crash as well.

While on location of the crash, officers located a running, unoccupied vehicle with significant damage belonging to a 35-year-old male, Billie Garcia, from Florida who was living in Union Beach. Garcia fled the scene before officers arrived. Garcia then stole a vehicle from a residence located on Front Street in Union Beach. Officers spotted Garcia driving the stolen vehicle a short distance away. UBPD officers Matthew Gajewski and Ryan Fogarty attempted to perform a motor vehicle stop of the stolen vehicle, but the driver refused to stop. Garcia abandoned the vehicle and fled from officers on foot into the marshland. Officers pursued him into the marshland where he was subsequently apprehended.

The Union Beach Police Department Detective Bureau, Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Division and the Monmouth County Fire Marshalls investigated the connection between the house fire and the incidents leading to the arrest of the fleeing suspect. It was determined that Garcia damaged and set fire to the residence before attempting to flee the scene.

Garcia was charged with the following offenses:
• Arson
• Criminal Mischief
• Theft of a motor vehicle
• Theft of movable property
• Resisting by flight
• Two counts of driving while suspended due to a prior driving while intoxicated conviction
• Driving while intoxicated
• Numerous motor vehicle offenses

Garcia was transferred to the Monmouth County Correctional Facility pending a detention hearing. The Union Beach Police Department would like to thank all first responding entities involved in the incident including the members of the Union Beach Fire Department, Union Beach First Aid, Keyport Fire Department, Matawan Fire Department, Hazlet Fire Department, Monmouth County Fire Marshalls, Monmouth County Prosecutors Office, Jersey Central power and lighting, and New Jersey Natural Gas.