Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino today announced the arrest and indictment of East Orange Police Officer Kareem Spence, 34, of South Plainfield on charges of arson and insurance fraud.
Spence was arrested today March 31, 2010, at approximately 10:30 a.m. at East Orange Police Headquarters after a three-count indictment was unsealed on March 30, 2010. Spence was charged with aggravated arson and insurance fraud, both second degree offenses; and attempted theft by deception, a third degree crime.
The indictment charges that Spence, who has been with the East Orange Police Department for approximately six years, set his 2002 Cadillac Coupe DeVille on fire on May 2, 2009 at 50 Rich Street in Irvington to collect insurance money. It is alleged that gasoline soaked towels were discovered in the trunk of the vehicle, where the blaze started.
Prosecutor Laurino praised Det. Marlin Bullock for leading the investigation that led to the arrest and indictment. The arrest was made by officers from the Prosecutor’s Office Professional Standards Bureau Corruption/Bias Unit and the Arson Unit along with the East Orange Police Department Internal Division.
If convicted of all the charges, Spence faces up to 25 years in prison. Bail was set at $25,000 by the Honorable Peter V. Ryan, JSC.
Spence is being held at the Essex County Correctional Facility.
The criminal charges are mere accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.