Homeless man sentenced to eight years for Hyannis arson fires

Matthew Pungitore was arrested in 2013 and charged with setting fires in four homes

A homeless man was sentenced to eight years in prison on arson charges Tuesday in Barnstable Superior Court. According to a release from the Cape & Islands District Attorney's Office, 29-year-old Matthew J. Pungitore pleaded guilty to four counts of arson, four counts of unarmed burglary and one count of injury to a firefighter before Judge Robert J. Rufo.

The charges stemmed from an April 2013 incident. At 4 a.m. on April 20, 2013, Barnstable police and Hyannis firefighters responded to a fire on Pilgrim Lane. They arrived to find 45 Pilgrim Lane fully engulfed in flames. As firefighters battled the fire at 45 Pilgrim Lane, three other fires were reported at neighboring homes (33 Pilgrim Lane, 27 Pilgrim Lane and 135 Baxter Lane). With the assistance of firefighters from neighboring departments, the four fires were all extinguished. All four of the homes were season and unoccupied at the time. All were significantly damaged and a firefighter was injured at the 33 Pilgrim Lane blaze.

According to the DA's Office, evidence indicated that all four fires were set from within the homes. Fingerprints, one matching Pungitore's left ring finger and one matching his left middle finger, lifted at 27 Pilgrim Lane gave police a suspect. A BOLO (be on the look out) was issued for Pungitore and he was picked up on unrelated warrants, Barnstable police said at the time. During interviews, Pungitore reportedly told police he broke into one of the homes and turned on the stove for heat. When towels caught fire he left that home and broke into another where a similar situation occurred.

Judge Rufo sentenced Pungitore to 8 years to 8 years and one day in state prison on the arson charges. He was sentenced to ten years probation from and after his prison sentence on the burglary charges, the release said.

Assistant District Attorney Edward F. X. Lynch prosecuted the case. The case was investigated by the Barnstable Police Department, the Hyannis Fire Department, the Barnstable County Sheriff's Office and the Massachusetts State Police.

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