VINELAND – City police say they have arrested a local man for allegedly setting a car fire earlier this month that wound up threatening the lives of 10 people sleeping in a nearby house.
Police said they arrested 26-year-old Miguel Angel Aguilar-Cruz following an investigation that included surveillance camera footage of the defendant allegedly filling up a gasoline can and fleeing the arson scene while holding onto the container.
A further investigation into the Feb. 5 incident also revealed that Aguilar-Cruz is not legally in the United States, police said. Police said they notified federal immigration officials of his status.
Aguilar-Cruz, of South 4th Street, is charged with two counts of aggravated arson. He was transported to the Cumberland County jail in Bridgeton, where he is being held on $150,000 bail.
City police said the incident occurred around 3:30 a.m. near a house in the 600 block of Wayne Avenue.
Patrol units went to the scene to find fire from a burning car threatening the house and the 10 residents that were sleeping inside, police said. The residents were removed from the building and none was injured, they said.
An investigation determined that the car was intentionally set on fire, police said. Police said they eventually apprehended Aguilar-Cruz, who allegedly said an unnamed person offered him $1,500 to set the vehicle on fire and that he needed the money to pay bills.
Local authorities said the investigation is continuing.