Barnstable police: Homeless man charged with four counts of arson

Fingerprint lifted at scene in April leads to suspect
Matthew Pungitore faces four counts of arson. Barnstable Police Dept. booking photo.

HYANNIS - Barnstable police announced Monday the arrest of a suspect in a spate of arson fires set on April 20, 2013 in a Hyannis neighborhood. According to a release from Barnstable police, Matthew Pungitore, 27, was arrested Sunday and charged with four counts of arson.

On April 20 around 4 a.m., Barnstable police and Hyannis firefighters responded to Pilgrim Lane where heavy smoke had been reported. Authorities arrived to find 45 Pilgrim Lane fully engulfed in flames, police said. As firefighters battled the blaze at 45 Pilgrim Lane, three other fires were reported at neighboring houses at 33 Pilgrim Lane, 27 Pilgrim Lane and 135 Baxter Road.

Additional support was called in to fight the four fires--all set in seasonal, unoccupied homes.

Once the fires were extinguished, Barnstable County Sheriff's Office CSI Deputy Percy was brought into process the scene.  Deputy Percy reportedly lifted a fingerprint at a point of forced entry at one of the homes, police said.

According to police, that print belonged to Matthew Pungitore. Once an ID came back on the print, Barnstable police released a BOLO (be on the lookout) for Pungitore.  He was picked up by Barnstable patrol officers on Sunday on unrelated open warrants, police said.

When interviewed by Det. York, Barnstable's arson investigator, Pungitore reportedly said he was homeless in April and admitted to breaking into one of the Pilgrim Lane homes. Pungitore told Det. York he turned the stove on for heat and some towels caught on fire. He said he left the home, breaking into a second home, where he again turned on the stove, reportedly filling the home with smoke.

Following the interview, Pungitore was charged with four counts of arson and held on $50,000 cash bail. He will be arraigned in Barnstable District Court.


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