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Parolee Set Fire to Patchogue Reservist’s Home, DA Says
A Patchogue parolee is accused of ransacking and burning down the home of an Air National Guard reservist serving overseas, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said Tuesday.
Harry Fleischmann Jr., 33, will be arraigned Tuesday on charges of burglarizing and burning down the home of Air National Guard Reservist Eric Carver on Dec. 27.
Carver, who is also a New York State Trooper, is currently on active duty serving in Africa, officials said.
Fleischmann, a convicted burglar on parole, “ransacked the victim’s house in the Swan Lake development in East Patchogue and stole Trooper Carver’s SUV, off-duty handgun, holster, some ammunition and a generator that Fleischmann found in a backyard shed,” Spota said, adding that his criminal history dates back to 1996.
“He also found gasoline in the shed and poured the gas on a stairway leading from the rear door of the house to the main floor, tossing a match into the doorway,” he added.
The blaze destroyed Carver’s rear door, melted the siding and destroyed his living room and kitchen, the district attorney said.
The Suffolk County Police Pattern Crimes Unit arrested Fleischmann on Jan. 16, authorities said. Detectives also linked him to several commercial burglaries dating back to last year at gas stations in East Patchogue, Brookhaven, Islandia, and Rocky Point, and burglaries of a Medford car wash and a Bayport liquor store, officials said.
“The thought that somebody came in here and did that was very scary,” said Debbie Roach of Swan Lake Civic Association whose group raised more than $20,000 to help Carver get back on his feet when he returns.
The fundraiser was the brainchild of her 10-year-old son who gathered his Christmas money and bought bracelets that the civic association later sold for the fundraiser.
When Roach first heard that someone was indicted for setting the blaze she felt “joy” and “relief,” she said.
“It was a very scary thing,” Roach said of the break-in and fire, “we didn’t know if it was anyone” from the community.