A 54-year-old Toms River man intentionally set a fire in the Sandy-damaged house that he owns with his estranged wife, police said.
Robert Raheb of Kettle Creek Road was charged with second-degree aggravated arson by Toms River Police Department Detective Thomas DiMichele on Aug. 22, according to Ralph Stocco, spokesman for the department.
The arrest stems from a six-month investigation following the blaze that ripped through a house at 643 Bayview Drive in the Green Island section of the township on March 2.
The fire destroyed the house, which was vacant and scheduled to be demolished due to damage inflicted by Superstorm Sandy, Stocco said in a release.
Raheb and his wife, Gina, own the Bayview Drive house, according to Stocco.
“Mrs. Raheb was taking care of the rebuilding of the home while her husband was temporarily living in Florida. Mr. Raheb had recently returned to Toms River and became involved in the restoration of the property,” Stocco said.
During the investigation, detectives determined that the fire was “incendiary in nature” and developed evidence that Raheb intentionally set the blaze, according to Stocco.
“There is no indication that his wife or any other family member had knowledge of this crime. It is believed that Mr. Raheb acted on his own,” he said.
Raheb posted $50,000 bail pending a later court appearance.
Instrumental and contributing to the investigation were Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Tom Haskell, Ocean County Sheriff’s Department CSI Officer Scott Frey, Ocean County Sheriff’s Department K-9 Officer Ted Wielichoski, and Toms River Fire Bureau Inspector Dominick Roselli.