Two Ocean County Men Charged With Arson, Painting Swastikas

Alexander Gerber and Connor Dougherty (Photos courtesy Ocean County Jail)

  LACEY – Two men have been charged with Arson and four counts of Criminal Mischief in connection to a week-long spree of damaging and defacing property.

  Alexander Gerber, 19, and Connor Dougherty, 20, both of Lacey, were charged with Arson and four counts of Criminal Mischief in connection with a series of incidents that occurred between November 21, 2023 and November 28, 2023, in Lacey Township.

  Police said they spotted a fire at the women’s restroom in Gille Park while on routine patrol on November 21. The Lanoka Harbor Fire Department responded and extinguished the fire. The Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office determined that the fire had been intentionally set with an open flame to combustible material.

  On November 26, police were called to the same park where they found graffiti, including swastikas, spray painted in various locations. They also found damage to the women’s restroom door.

  On November 28, the police found graffiti, which included swastikas, on a clothing bin at the Mill Pond basketball courts, and the rear of the North Main Street ShopRite.

  Police said they learned a Chevrolet pick-up truck might have been connected to the incidents. On November 28, police spotted that truck on Deerhead Lake Drive. Gerber was driving and he was taken into custody. Dougherty turned himself in later that day.

  Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Lacey Township Chief of Police Christopher Kenny acknowledged the Lacey Township Police Department, Detective Bureau, and Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office, for their combined assistance in connection with this investigation.

  Charges are merely accusations until proven in a court of law.