A local celebrity was charged with 1st Degree arson in connection with a Barre City fire in December.
Mark E. Shaw, Jr., 63, of Barre, was arrested in Berlin Wednesday on an outstanding warrant. Shaw is a frequent guest and member of the “Wack Pack” on the Howard Stern show on which he’s known as “Bigfoot.”
Berlin Police say they were contacted on December 7, 2020, by Sirius XM Radio security personnel. Berlin police were told that Shaw called into the Howard Stern Show and told a correspondent, “Wolfie” that he “burned his house down” and “lied to police about knocking over a candle.”
A smoke alarm can be heard in the background of the recorded calls. Shaw reportedly said that he purposefully lit his apartment on fire and lied to investigators on the scene, during the fire.
On December 3, police and firefighters responded to a fire on Fairview Street in Barre. They observed smoke coming from Shaw’s apartment. Police say Shaw exited the apartment when firefighters approached. He refused to exit the building and reportedly attempted to return to his apartment.
After police cleared the building, Shaw sat on the front lawn while firefighters extinguished the fire inside his apartment. He told investigators he “dropped a candle” that “hit a broom.” When the fire spread to a table, Shaw said, it got “too hot to put out.”
Police say Shaw said “it had to happen,” and he “wanted to kill himself in the smoke.”
Fire investigators said the fire caused approximately $75,000 in damage.
Shaw will be arraigned on the arson charge today in Washington County Superior Court.
In 2013 Shaw was found incompetent to stand trial for charges he attempted to strike former Newport Police Chief Seth DiSanto with a three-and-a-half-foot-long sword. The state also dropped charges of felony aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, first-degree attempted arson, and misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct by fighting and resisting arrest as part of the insanity ruling.
At the time, Shaw was remanded to the Brattleboro Retreat in the custody of the commissioner of the Department of Mental Health.
His past criminal record includes convictions for 23 misdemeanor counts, but he’s been charged with multiple offenses since 1978, when he got his first conviction for disorderly conduct, amended from assault and robbery.
Most of the cases ended in dismissal or were never charged by prosecutors.