Holmdel man found guilty of arson

FREEHOLD –   A former Holmdel Township man was found guilty by a Monmouth County jury after a 5-week trial relating to an arson and firing a weapon into a township business, announced Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey.

Leonard J. Mazzarisi, III, 32, formerly of Burgundy Drive in Holmdel, was found guilty on Friday July 30, 2021 of second degree Aggravated Arson, second degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose and third degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon.

On Aug. 19, 2017, Holmdel police responded to a report of a possible arson at 51 Main Street in the township, the site of the Neuhaus Realty Agency. Evidence collected there suggested that a fire that damaged a portion of the rear of the building was purposefully set. A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Holmdel Township Police Department determined the fire was purposefully set by a male captured on video surveillance cameras from August 17, 2017.

On Jan. 27, 2018 at about 10:18 p.m., Holmdel police responded to a second fire at the same Main Street location, finding heavy smoke and fire emanating from the rear of the structure. Firefighters from the Holmdel Fire Department responded to the scene but the structure sustained extensive damage. An investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, the Holmdel Township Police Department and the Monmouth County Fire Marshal’s Office determined this second fire to also be an act of arson, closely resembling the August 2017 fire.

On May 29, 2018, Holmdel police were dispatched to 4 South Holmdel Road on the report of a BB gun being fired into the building.  The location is the newest location for Neuhaus Realty, which had been forced to relocate as a result to the January 27th fire damage. Detectives from Holmdel Township Police Department reviewed additional surveillance video to determine Mazzarisi was responsible for firing the BB gun into the window of the building, and that he was driving a vehicle that matched the vehicle seen in the video at the January 2018 arson at the former Neuhaus Realty location.

The following day, on May 30, 2018, Mazzarisi was located at a hotel in Fredericksburg, Virginia, where he was arrested on outstanding warrants stemming from the investigation. Mazzarisi was held at the Rappahannock Regional Jail in Stafford, Virginia until he was extradited back to New Jersey on June 12, 2018 to face these charges.

Acting Prosecutor Linskey commended the efforts of the Holmdel Police Department as well as law enforcement agencies from Vermont, New York and Virginia for their work leading up to this conviction.

Mazzarisi is scheduled to return for sentencing before Superior Court Judge Lourdes Lucas on October 8, 2021.  He faces up to twenty years in New Jersey State Prison on the charges.

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Anthony Puglisi.

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