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Man Set Fire to Mattress in Richmond University Medical Center ER, DA Says

By Nicholas Rizzi | August 11, 2017 8:48am
 James Freer lit a mattress on fire while inside the emergency room of Richmond University Medical Center, prosecutors said.
James Freer lit a mattress on fire while inside the emergency room of Richmond University Medical Center, prosecutors said.
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DNAInfo/Nicholas Rizzi

WEST BRIGHTON — A patient at Richmond University Medical Center lit his bed sheets and mattress on fire inside the hospital's emergency room last week, prosecutors said.

James Freer, 57, was inside the hospital's emergency room on Aug. 4 when he took out a cigarette lighter and set fire to the mattress he was laying on at about 9:07 p.m., according to his criminal complaint.

The flames were put out and Freer was arrested, but it was unclear why he was admitted to the hospital in the first place, prosecutors said.

Freer was charged with arson, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief at his arraignment, the Staten Island District Attorney's office said. 

He pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge of arson on Thursday and will spend 30 days in prison, his lawyer, Maxwell Gould, said.

Other notable incidents in Staten Island include:

 A man swiped $1,640 worth of bags from the Michael Kors store inside the Staten Island Mall, authorities said.

Edward Black, 37, went into the store at 2655 Richmond Ave. on May 7 and stole two pocketbooks from the shelves at about 11:35 a.m., prosecutors said.

Black was eventually arrested on Saturday and charged with grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property and petit larceny at his arraignment, the DA's office said. His bail was set at $5,000 bond or $2,500 cash.

He was previously arrested for a May 18 robbery and was arrested on drug charges in New Jersey in 2012, according to court records and NJ.com.

Gould, who also represents Black, declined to comment on the case.

 A man cut the gate of a fence to break into a Bulls Head apartment while the owner was on vacation, authorities said.

Michael Ferraro, 39, got into the Leona Street apartment on Monday at about 3:15 a.m. and went through drawers in the bedroom looking for property, prosecutors said.

He was spotted running out the rear door of the apartment and arrested by officers roughly 20 minutes later, police said.

Ferraro was charged with burglary, criminal trespass, criminal mischief, possession of burglar's tools and attempted petit larceny at his arraignment, the DA said. His bail was set at $15,000 bond or $10,000 cash.

His lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.