NJ PBA President Labels Incident 'Absolutely A Savage Act'

MONROE TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Police on Wednesday were searching for the suspect who firebombed an officer’s home.

As CBS 2’s Alice Gainer reported, a $20,000 reward was being offered for the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the firebombing, as authorities try to figure out who targeted the officer and why.

Firefighters responded to the blaze in the two-story colonial-style home on Arlene Drive in Monroe Township around 4 a.m. Monday.

Officials said the fire was brought under control within 10 to 15 minutes, but caused substantial damage to the home.

As WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reported, Edison Police Capt. Mark Anderko’s wife and children were inside, but no one was injured in the fire.

On Wednesday afternoon, a blue tarp partially covered the roof. Peeking out from the boarded-up front door were burnt pieces of siding.

“The entire front was charred by the time we got outside,” said Haarika Reddy, who lives next door.

Reddy said her family was woken up by officers around 4 a.m. Monday after either a Molotov cocktail or a gas can was detonated in front of her neighbor’s house.

“They told us to just grab some important things and then run out,” Reddy said.

Authorities have not said what was used to start the fire.

“It’s absolutely a savage act,” New Jersey Policemen’s Benevolent Association President Tony Wieners told Putney. “You come after one of our members or any law enforcement officer in New Jersey, we’re going to stand up and offer that reward and hopefully somebody will come forward.”

Wieners added the attack on the home and the officer’s family was “unspeakable.”

“Regardless of whether a gun, a knife or a firebomb, NJ Cop Shot stands ready to assist with the capture of those responsible. We know the danger we face when we put on our uniform and head out each day, but this attack on a home and family is unspeakable,” Wieners said.

Captain Anderko is said to be close to the police chief, but investigators were not saying if they know what the attack was about, Putney reported.

Edison police did not release an official comment, but the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office ruled the incident arson.

“You’re not going after the individual officer for whatever reason they chose to do so, but they’re attacking his whole family and it’s something that we’re not going to tolerate or stand for and we’re going to hopefully pay out this $20,000 reward before they can go out and hurt anybody else,” Wieners said.

And though there are questions about whether or not the attack was some form of retaliation, neighbors said, for now, they are not too worried.

“They’ll get to the bottom of this, especially because they attacked one of their own,” Reddy said.

Anyone with information should contact the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office 732-745-3300 or Middlesex County Crime Stoppers at 800-939-9600. You can also call Det. Sgt. Lisa Robinson of the Monroe Township Police Department at (732) 521-0222, extension 149, or Investigator Todd O’Malley of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-3908.

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