A Stepney volunteer firefighter accused of setting fire to his recovered SUV and reporting it stolen again has been arraigned. 38-year old Mathew Bittner of Monroe was charged with arson, conspiracy to commit arson, insurance fraud, making a false statement and tampering with evidence. Bittner did not enter pleas yesterday and the case was continued to the 17th.
The SUV, registered to his girlfriend, was first reported stolen from a driveway in Monroe in October. It was recovered the following day in Bridgeport and picked up by Bittner. Monroe Police contacted him about it being located, burning, in a Newtown parking lot. He told police it must have been stolen again.
The Connecticut Post reports that text messages between him, another man and his girlfriend included disparaging, racial comments about Bridgeport residents. His friend, 32-year old Joseph Bogdanyi of Seymour, who is facing arson charges, is scheduled to be arraigned January 8th.