Atlantic City Police have arrested a man they believe set a fire at a city motel on Pacific Avenue to distract while he was across the street burglarizing a restaurant.

According to a Facebook post from Atlantic City Police, officers arrested Earl Cooper, 31, of Pleasantville, at Texas and Pacific avenues on Friday, March 5 in connection with a burglary that occurred on February 24 at Girasole Ristorante and Lounge, in the 3100 block of Pacific Avenue.

Police say Cooper committed the burglary, stealing almost $700 worth of liquor and was responsible for property damage.

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An investigation by Atlantic City Police detectives indicated that, prior to the burglary, Cooper started a fire inside a motel room in the Quality Inn across the street. Detectives believe the fire was set as a distraction so that Cooper could commit the burglary.

The Atlantic City Fire Department responded to the room fire which was extinguished. There were no injuries caused of the fire.

Cooper has been charged with arson, two counts of burglary, theft, and criminal mischief. He is being held in the Atlantic County Justice Facility in Mays Landing.

Police ask anyone who has any additional information about this crime to contact the Atlantic City Police Department Criminal Investigations Section at 609-347-5766. Information can be text to tip411 (847411). Begin the text with ACPD. All texts are anonymous.

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