YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A defense attorney got a little over two weeks more today to review the evidence in the case of an undocumented day laborer who police said set an Englewood neighborhood on edge last summer by torching several cars and a house, then two more cars weeks later.
Marco Antonio Rene has been held on $2.5 million bail in the Bergen County Jail since his June, 2012 arrest.
The INS has placed a retainer on the Guatemalan citizen for deportation purposes once the case has been resolved.
Rene has been in the country illegally since 2010, as CLIFFVIEW PILOT first reported exclusively.
He was in court this morning with a new attorney, Ian Silvera, who now has until Sept. 30 to review the prosecutor’s proofs in the case.
The 5-foot-6-inch Rene is charged with four counts of attempted murder, eight counts of aggravated arson and a single count of possessing a fraudulent Social Security card and resident alien card after two cars were set ablaze.
The first was parked outside the Shop-Rite at West Street and Tallman Place. Less than an hour later, a witness flagged down a passing Englewood patrol car and reported that a man had just torched a car on West Demarest Avenue.
Englewood police officers flooded the area and, based on the description given, spotted Rene and another man entering an apartment a few blocks away, on West Street. Brought were brought both in for questioning.
The second man quickly gave up Rene, who then admitted to torching the two cars and setting fires to five cars and a house in a nearby Englewood neighborhood two weeks earlier, Englewood Police Chief Arthur O’Keefe told CLIFFVIEW PILOT at the time.
Emergency workers were at the scene of the car fires when the siding of a house suddenly sprouted flames. They believe it may have been smoldering for awhile. Damage to the home was minimal, they said, but four people were inside at the time — leading to the attempted murder charges.
The vehicles were all parked curbside between the Soldiers Monument on West Palisade Avenue and Cottage Place. They included a restored 1986 Fiero, a Lexus and two Camrys.
Three were destroyed, one had moderate damage and one had minor damage. A sixth, parked nearby, sustained some damage after it caught fire from the others.
The Bergen County Sheriff’s Department’s Bureau of Criminal Identification collected evidence for the investigation, conducted by the Englewood Police Department and the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Arson Squad.
STORY / PHOTO: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter
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