Man set fire to Atlantic City motel room as diversion to rob liquor store

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ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – A man in Atlantic City has been arrested after he set fire to his motel room in order to divert law enforcement resources so he could steal booze from the local liquor store.

Atlantic City Police said on March 5, 2021, the investigation into the burglary of a local restaurant resulted in additional charges after the arrested suspect was linked to a nearby fire.

“At 10:00 am, Officer Kevin Perez and Christian Ivanov arrested Earl Cooper at Texas and Pacific Avenues. Cooper was wanted in reference to a burglary that occurred on February 24 at Girasole located in the 3100 block of Pacific Avenue,” the department said. “During the burglary, Cooper stole almost $700 worth of liquor and committed property damage.”

An investigation led by Detectives Joseph Procopio and Matthew Cocuzza revealed that Cooper initially started a fire inside a motel room in the Quality Inn across the street. Detectives believe the fire was set as a distraction so Cooper could commit the burglary. The Atlantic City Fire Department responded to the room fire which was extinguished.

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There were no injuries.

ARRESTED: Earl Cooper, 31, of Pleasantville, NJ.
CHARGES: Arson, two counts of burglary, theft, and criminal mischief.

Cooper was remanded to the Atlantic County Justice Facility.

Anyone with additional information is urged to contact the Atlantic City Police Department Criminal Investigations Section at 609-347-5766. Information can be text to tip411(847411). Begin the text with ACPD. All texts are anonymous.