MAHWAH, N.J. -- A man caught shoplifting torched a Mahwah business just hours earlier, authorities said Saturday.
Detectives were investigating the Airmont Avenue fire when the shoplifting call came in from a Miller Road business just after 9 a.m. Friday, Sgt. Michael R. Blondin said.
Officer Sean Hayes found Ezequiel Tejada, 20, Jersey City, "at another business a short distance away" and arrested him, he said.
Investigators then tied Tejada to the fire, which was reported just after 8 a.m. when employees arrived for work, the sergeant said.
The blaze "had been intentionally set under the overhang in front of the store in the area of bales of hay and Halloween decorations," Blondin said. "Burning materials were then wedged into the front doors of the business.
"An additional fire was located on the side of the building," he said.
Investigators armed with a description of their suspect were searching for Tejada when the shoplifting call came in, Blondin said.
They charged Tejada with setting the fire and creating a risk of widespread injury or damage. He was also charged with shoplifting.
He was then taken to Bergen Regional Medical Center in Paramus under guard.
An investigation was continuing, Blondin said.
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