BROCKTON — A Middleborough man charged with setting fire to a building in West Bridgewater was ordered held without bail today, as authorities continued to investigate whether he set fire to at least 24 other unoccupied or abandoned buildings in the South Shore since September.
Mark Sargent, 58, will return to the Plymouth House of Corrections to await a probable cause hearing on Feb. 26.
Sargent’s girlfriend’s son, a co-defendant in the case, Jean Marie Louis, 23, was granted $10,000 cash bail, and ordered to submit to GPS monitoring and an 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, should he post bail.
Louis is also being investigated for possible links to other fires, officials said.
A State Police arson investigator today returned to the witness stand to complete his testimony in a Brockton District Court dangerousness hearing.
Trooper Michael Peters said a GPS tracking device placed on Sargent’s vehicle indicated that it stopped at the West Bridgewater building before the fire broke out there on Jan. 30. The device also indicated that the vehicle drove by the building a total of eight times, both before and after the blaze.
Sargent was stopped in the area a short time after the fire was reported. Louis was in the passenger’s seat of Sargent’s car, and police said he reeked of gasoline.
Eric Drury, a Plymouth County prosecutor, said during the hearing that Sargent knew authorities suspected him in the series of arsons because they had questioned him twice prior to Jan. 30.
“He still comes out and does this. It shows how extremely dangerous and volatile this is,” Drury said.
“He still can’t help himself, still goes out and does this, despite being on the radar. All this adds up to an extreme danger to the community.”
Jason Howard, who is representing Sargent, said authorities had no eyewitnesses or evidence linking his client to the Jan. 30 arson or any of the other cases.
Howard said of the GPS tracking, “It’s all beeps and dots on a map. I suggest it’s lazy. They’ve been beating their chests on how amazing this technology is. I suggest it’s lazy.”
It was unclear whether Louis would make bail.Brian Ballou can be reached at email@example.com.