BCPO: Man who shot off flamethrower pleads guilty to aggravated arson, assault charges

Condit Observer file photo

The Lyndhurst man who authorities said shot off a flamethrower last year during a hostage standoff pled guilty to aggravated arson and aggravated assault, Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said on May 15.

Robert Condit, 52, of Lyndhurst’s plea was in connection to a 21-hour standoff that began on May 3, 2022.

The afternoon of May 3, 2022, Condit reportedly barricaded himself in his home following a hearing in Superior Court in which he was ordered to surrender his forearms. Rather than complying with the court’s order to surrender his firearms, he remained in his home despite police orders to the contrary.

He also shot a flamethrower at members of the Bergen County Regional SWAT team and pointed a rifle at a SWAT vehicle. The surrounding neighborhood was locked down for nearly a day while negotiators attempted to bring the ordeal to a peaceful end.

Condit ultimately surrendered the following day.

He pled guilty to two counts of second-degree aggravated assault and one count of second-degree aggravated arson. The state will recommend a sentence of seven years in New Jersey State Prison, subject to the No Early Release Act, which requires Condit to serve 85% of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole.

Sentencing is set for June 30, 2023.

The state was represented by Assistant Prosecutor Christine Gorzelany.

More than 15 members of the Bergen County Regional SWAT team, who were involved in this incident, will be presented with a unit citation award for their skill and professionalism by the CIT-NJ Center of Excellence at its 9th annual New Jersey Crisis Intervention Team (“CIT”) 2022 Year End Forum on May 25, 2023.

Many of the negotiators and SWAT operators are CIT trained and used that training during this nearly day-long standoff.  CIT is a 40-hour training that brings together law enforcement, mental health professionals, and community stakeholders to learn how to best respond to those who are in psychiatric crisis.

“Since we began supporting CIT training in Bergen County in 2016, more than 450 law enforcement officers have been trained.” Musella said. “We are committed to providing our officers with the tools they need to respond to individuals in crisis and to ensure that our communities are as safe as possible. I commend the members of the Bergen County Regional SWAT team, the Lyndhurst Police Department, the Lyndhurst Police Emergency Response Team, the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office and the officers from surrounding local police departments, who persuaded the actor to surrender while ensuring that the residents in the area were protected.

“This was an extremely volatile and dangerous situation that ended peacefully due to the outstanding work of the men and women who responded.”

Why did Lyndhurst man keep police at bay for 20+ hours this week?

Learn more about the writer ...

Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.