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Suspect in Queens Malls Fires to Undergo Psychiatric Evaluation

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | February 26, 2014 5:12pm
 A man was taken into custody by police after a series of fires broke out in two Queens malls Monday.
Queens Mall Fires
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QUEENS — The man accused of setting a dozen small fires at stores inside two busy Queens malls, causing thousands of dollars in damage, will undergo a psychiatric evaluation, District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Dereck Sumair, 23, of Jamaica, has been charged with a series of arsons in stores at the Rego Center Mall and the Queens Center Mall between last Thursday and Monday afternoon, including Macy’s, Sears, Burlington, Old Navy, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Target.

Using a cigarette lighter, Sumair set fire to merchandise, including towels, pillows, clothing and shelving, worth at least $4,000, according to the criminal complaint.

No injuries were reported in any of the incidents.

Sumair, who has been charged with arson, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief, was ordered held without bail.

Brown said in a statement that Sumair was “endangering the lives of shoppers, store employees and responding firefighters."

“These incidents should not be viewed as a prank,” Brown noted. “Arson is a serious crime that will be dealt with accordingly.”

Sumair was additionally charged with criminal mischief for throwing rocks which broke windows at the Long Island Consultation Center, a mental health facility, on 64th Road in Rego Park in three separate incidents between Dec. 19-26 last year.

Sumair allegedly told police that he "broke the windows for fun and to watch the police respond," according to the Queens DA’s office.     

If convicted, Sumair faces up to 25 years in prison. He is due back in court on March 18.

His lawyer did not immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment.