Private video network plays key role in nabbing Roscoe Village arsonist

Andrew Hogrefe (inset) and images of the fire being set. | CPD; Roscoe Village Neighbors

A Joliet man is facing arson charges after he allegedly set fire to patio umbrellas at a popular North Side restaurant. And a locally-operated surveillance network gave police investigators a powerful assist.

Around 2:50 a.m. on Aug. 14th, police responded to a fire on the patio of Beat Kitchen, 2100 West Belmont. Officers found plants lying in the street and three dining umbrellas on fire, according to a CPD spokesperson.

Armed with a description provided by a witness, police detained a 40-year-old Andrew Hogrefe minutes later on the 3200 block of North Lincoln.

Prosecutors charged Hogrefe with felony arson to real property and Judge Arthur Willis set bail at $50,000. Hogrefe is due back in court on Wednesday.

Detectives secured video from the Roscoe Village Neighbors camera network that shows a man setting fire to one of the umbrellas. In the video, the arsonist is seen walking at the top left of the screen, crossing the street, and then starting the fire.

About six minutes into the footage, a motorist stops his truck and appears to call 911. Then, around the 6:49 mark, the man runs off-screen, as if he is chasing someone. Police arrived 20 seconds later, followed by the fire department.

Police found a mailbox smoking from an apparent fire on the 1600 block of West Melrose shortly after the Beat Kitchen incident. So far, no charges have been filed in that matter.

Footage of the arson in progress is the latest in nearly a dozen police assists that the Roscoe Village Neighbors’ video network has provided since being established last summer.

The group spent $40,000 to install more than 25 high-definition security cameras and license plate readers during its first phase. Earlier this month, RVN invited more local businesses and residents to get involved during the project’s second phase.

Parties interested in joining the Roscoe Village network may email the organizers:

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is