New Milford arson suspect turns herself in to police

May 1, 2019

NEW MILFORD — An alleged arson suspect, accused of causing $30,000 in damages to a town condo complex and putting residents and first responders in danger, turned herself in to police on Monday.

Monique Cook-Lino, 47, of Adee Avenue in Bronx, N.Y., was charged with first-degree arson and second-degree false statement. New Milford police said Cook-Lino’s arrest stemmed from an incident on Feb. 14.

That day, New Milford police and fire department responded to a report of a fire at the Bel Air Condominium Complex. The blaze set off the fire alarm, leading residents to evacuate.

“On scene it was determined that said fire was intentionally set,” police said.

Police Chief Spencer Cerruto said investigation led detectives to a suspect who lives in the Bronx.

“Through witness statements, video surveillance and the investigatory efforts of New Milford Police Detectives, Connecticut State Police and Fire Marshals, a confession was later given by Monique Cook-Lino,” police said.

The fire and smoke caused an estimated $30,000 in damages, police said. She was processed and released on a written promise to appear in Torrington Superior Court on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m.

According to the Republican-American, Cook-Lino set the fire to the condo complex her husband shares with his girlfriend by using her child’s sippy cup filled with gasoline. The Rep-Am reported police allege that Cook-Lino poured the gas over a paper bag in a third-floor hallway, lit it on fire and left the area.

When she confessed to police, she said she thought about knocking on the door after lighting the match, but “didn’t want to get arrested,” the Rep-Am reported based on court documents. She said the spark that led her to light the fire was ongoing relationship struggles with her husband’s live-in girlfriend, the Rep-Am said.

“This suspect put residents and first responders at great risk,” Cerruto said. “Thankfully, nobody was injured.”

It was unclear when her next court appearance would be since updated court information was not available for her as of 4 p.m. Wednesday.