A Florida woman has been arrested 18 months after she allegedly burned down a former psychiatric hospital for children and took a selfie in front of the smoldering ruins.
A lengthy investigation into the May 2020 blaze led Monmouth County, New Jersey, investigators to Evelyn V Alvino, 20, from Pinellas Park, Florida.
She was arrested in November and extradited to New Jersey to face arson, burglary, criminal trespassing, and criminal mischief charges. Alvino is said to have torched the building while mourning the end of a relationship with a boyfriend.
Alvino, who was described by friends as somebody who would ‘do anything to hurt someone without any regard,’ caused more than $3.5 million in damages to the Arthur Brisbane Child Treatment Center, which had to be demolished after the blaze in 2020.
Firefighters from more than 11 firehouses in Wall Township were needed to put out the blaze, which they feared would spread to a nearby wooded area and park.
During ‘a thorough social media scrub’ conducted by investigators, several photos emerged of Alvino trespassing and spraying graffiti on the Brisbane Center, before allegedly using an accelerator to start the fire.
The fire caused more than $3.5 million worth of damage to The Arthur Brisbane Child Treatment Center.
The structure was in 1948 by Arthur Brisbane and it was then gifted to the state to treat emotionally disturbed children.
The building had been abandoned for almost 15 years when Alvino set it on fire on May 30, 2020.
According to detectives, the building and structures in the vicinity had been burglarized before the fire.
Investigators have also said pictures Alvino posted on Instagram after the fire showed that others joined her in trespassing the facility.
‘They advised that [Alvino] asked to go to the Brisbane Center to ‘destroy the building,’ an affidavit stated, NJ.com reported.'[They] posted several pictures of themselves trespassing and spraying graffiti on the Brisbane Center, placing themselves directly on the premises.’
Friends of Alvino told investigators she had started the fire after having an argument and breaking up with her boyfriend.
Alvino then allegedly flew to Florida, after posting on social media that she ‘almost caught charges.’
A warrant for Alvino was issued on September 7, after she was charged with arson, burglary, criminal trespassing, and criminal mischief.
Alvino was arrested on November 9 at her home in Pinellas Park by members of the US Marshals Service and the Pinellas Park Police Task Force.
Alvino reportedly poured accelerant throughout the building and lit the fire.
‘Several pictures on social media clearly show Evelyn’s intent and mindset,’ an affidavit states.
‘Evelyn is known in her friend group to have a ‘terrible temper’ and will ‘do anything to hurt someone without any regard,’ it added. ‘She is also reported to have no regard for the law and/or safety of others.’
The affidavit also stated that firefighters were noticeably exhausted by the time they had put out the fire, and they were initially worried that the fire would spread to nearby woods and a public park.
‘Several vendors responded to replenish the firefighters’ food/water in an effort to restore energy after hours of fighting the fire,’ it stated. ‘When looking at the building, it appeared to have graffiti sprayed on the entire building.’