Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Manchester Township Chief of Police Robert Dolan announced that on November 23, 2022, Nicholas Depalma, 77, of Whiting, was charged with four counts of Aggravated Arson in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:17-1a (2) and one count of Aggravated Arson in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:17-1a (5), in connection with a series of fires that were set between January 1, 2022 and April 26, 2022, in Manchester Township.
An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit-Arson Squad and the Manchester Township Police Department determined that Depalma was responsible for setting a series of five separate dumpster fires, in Manchester Township between the dates of January 1, 2022 and April 26, 2022. Four of the fires were set in proximity to structures causing damage to them and one of the fires was set near a large wooded area.
On November 23, 2022, Depalma surrendered himself to Manchester Township Police Headquarters where he was processed and released on a summons – as a consequence of bail reform, pending a future appearance in Ocean County Superior Court.
Prosecutor Billhimer and Chief Dolan commend the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit-Arson Squad and the Manchester Township Police Department, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit and Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office for their collaborative assistance in connection with this investigation leading to Depalma’s arrest.
The charges referenced above are merely accusations and the press and public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.