Two minors have been charged with purposely starting a fire that shut down a section of the Garden State Parkway last week, as well as burglarizing a New Jersey Turnpike Authority building.
The unidentified juveniles, who are from Ocean County, started the Jan. 19 fire in a drainage culvert that runs underneath the parkway from the 91 north entrance ramp to the 91 south exit ramp, the New Jersey State Police said in a press release Wednesday.
The blaze in Brick Township caused the busy stretch of the highway to be closed for about 10 hours, causing a miles-long traffic backup.
During their investigation, detectives discovered that the two suspects had also recently burglarized a building adjacent the Garden State Parkway 91 north commuter lot that is owned by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, state police said.
The pair was charged with arson, burglary, criminal mischief, interference with transportation and defiant trespassing. They were released pending a court date.
State police said they usually do not release any information on most criminal cases involving juveniles, but they did so in this case due to “public interest” regarding the alleged crimes.