Wednesday night police arrested two men they suspect in a string of arsons throughout Southeastern Massachusetts beginning in September. They charged Mark Sargent, 45, and his step-son Jeanmarie Louis, 23, of Middleboro with attempting to burn a vacant building on South Main Street in West Bridgewater.
They located the suspect’s car at the scene of the fire and, via GPS, followed it south into Bridgewater. Based on an ongoing investigation, they stopped the car, a 2003 Subaru Outback, and took the pair into custody.
The men were arraigned in Brockton District Court Thursday on charges of burning a building and attempting to burn a building.
A Marshfield police officer noticed the Subaru near the scene of a marina fire in Marshfield in December, briefly interviewed the driver, Sargent, and noted the plate number. Investigators obtained a court warrant to place a GPS tracking device on the car.
A GPS tracking device played a key role in the arrest. But investigators presented other evidence after the pairs’ arraignment.
Every suspected case of arson involved a Duraflame log and gasoline for ignition. Witnesses saw a man in a hooded sweatshirt running from the West Bridgewater property. The property was surrounded by mud. When police stopped Sargent and Louis, they smelled gasoline. Louis wore a hooded sweatshirt and mud covered his boots.
The West Bridgewater fire was the 24th suspected case of arson in a vacant building and using the same ignition method. West Bridgewater firefighters quickly extinguished it.