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Pair charged in Edison police arson conspiracy

Staff Writer

EDISON — One month prior to the firebombing of Edison Deputy Chief Mark Anderko’s home in 2013, two Edison police officers allegedly conspired to firebomb the home of another superior officer, according to Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey.

Police Officer Christian Pedana, a 16-year veteran of the force, is suspended without pay and Michael Dotro, who resigned as an Edison patrolman in September of 2015 after nine years with the department, were charged with conspiring to commit an aggravated arson and a related count of official misconduct in April of 2013, according to the prosecutor on Nov. 7.

The fire was never set and the superior officer, who now is a retired captain and was in charge of the Edison Internal Affairs Department, was never injured.

The prosecutor’s office did not disclose what town the superior officer lives in.

The case is in addition to an incident in which Dotro is accused of setting fire to Anderko’s home Monroe Township on May 20, 2013. Anderko has since retired.

After the new charges were filed, Dotro’s bail was continued at $1.6 million. Bail for Pedana was set at $35,000.

During the investigation by Detective Donald Heck of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, it was determined that Dotro, 39, of Manalapan, and Pedana, 44, of Edison, plotted on April 7, 2013 to set fire to the home of the other superior officer.

Pedana also was charged with false swearing and a related count of official misconduct after it was determined that he provided a false statement to Heck on June 10, 2013 during the arson conspiracy investigation.

Along with these new charges, Dotro also faces five counts of attempted murder for the incident in May 2013, charges of criminal mischief, unlawful possession of a destructive device used to set the fire, hindering his apprehension or prosecution by providing false information to investigators and retaliation for past official action of the police captain.

Dotro’s wife, Alycia Dotro, had also been charged with giving false information to police to protect her husband.

Edison Police Chief Thomas Bryan and Edison Mayor Thomas Lankey said they would not comment about the criminal charges.

The investigation is active and is continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Heck of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-745-3300.

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