72-year-old Serial Arsonist Arrested in New Haven
NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT – June 19, 2018
A man who is accused of setting several fires over the last few months in New Haven has been arrested, the New Haven Register reports.
Detectives and investigators from the New Haven Fire Investigations Unit say they have been hunting for what they call a serial arsonist since April of this year. Over the past three months, they say about 30 trash can fires covering approximately 16 acres centered at the New Haven Green have been set, Officer David Hartman said in a release Monday.
“Staff from the NH Department of Public Works, Parks Department, and the ever-helpful Downtown Ambassadors were instrumental in tracking down the fire-starter suspected in these cases,” Hartman said in the release.
On May 30, Detective Michael Torre and Fire Investigations Supervisor Ray Saracco were following up on a trash fire that firefighters extinguished around midnight. Saracco had been called to the scene and noticed surveillance cameras on the New Haven Public Library that were focused toward the scene of the crime on Temple Street, the release said.
Saracco and Torre went to the library. The security guard scanned the captured surveillance and was able to secure prominent images of the man suspected of setting the fire, police said.
“The guard knew the man,” Hartman said in the release. “He’d been the subject of several past trespassing complaints at the library.”
However, due to the programmed movement of the camera, the arson itself wasn’t captured, police said.
On June 5th there was another such fire at the same location. Firefighters on Engine Four responded, doused the flames and photographed the scene. Saracco got the call and headed back to the library the next day, Hartman said.
“The library guard searched the surveillance recordings,” Hartman said. “It captured the arson and arsonist.”
Detectives were able to get an arrest warrant for 72-year-old Robert DiNuzzo of New Haven, and he was arrested on June 7th. Investigators say DiNuzzo confessed to setting several of the suspect fires. He is now facing charges including reckless burning, first-degree reckless endangerment, and first-degree criminal mischief. Officers say DiNuzzo was released on a promise to appear at a later date.