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“What can you say? Who the heck does that?” Man charged in arson spree during Port Washington’s “Fish Day”

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PORT WASHINGTON (WITI) -- A man faces several felony charges after police say he went on an arson spree during Port Washington's big annual "Fish Day" celebration. Those who were victimized by his alleged actions just want to know why.

After the biggest party of the year, a mess can be expected -- just not quite a mess like this.

The talk of the town in Port Washington after this weekend's popular "Fish Day" celebration is a trail of destruction that started where trouble often does -- at a local bar.

"The bar reported that they were throwing things off on the top deck to the crowd below," Port Washington Police Chief Kevin Hingiss said.

Hingiss says officers were called to the Schooner Pub on Saturday, July 19th. 23-year-old Matthew Gleissner was kicked out for throwing burning cigarettes at people.

"Before 2:00 a.m., our officers were doing a check of the bar, walking through it and noticed the subject back in the bar," Chief Hingiss said.

This time, Gleissner was ticketed.

An hour later, police got a call. This time, for a fire.

Behind the Pasta Shoppe, flames destroyed their dumpster. Moments later, a boat was reported fully engulfed on Pier Street. Then, a third fire -- in a dumpster at the County Administration Building.

Further south, Todd Korup awoke to his van burned out.

"As soon as you came rushing out it was like, okay -- the windows were completely sooted over. We're at over $10,000 in damages just from an initial inspection without taking anything apart," Korup said.

And Korup wasn't the only victim.

Police say in total, five cars, the boat, several dumpsters and three Porta Potties were destroyed.

"What can you say?  Who the heck does that?" Korup said.

It's an arson spree that may have gone unsolved, if not for something hanging above the dumpster at the County Administration Building.

"We have some fantastic video of the suspect," Chief Hingiss said.

Police say a surveillance camera captured Gleissner. He's now facing six felony arson charges.

Those left cleaning up the mess just want to know why.

"So all you did was go around and light fires for what? Doesn't make any sense to me," Korup said.


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