A well-known neighborhood menace is suspected of setting a dumpster fire in Boystown late Monday near locations where two other suspicious fires have been reported recently. The blaze broke out behind Sherwin-Williams, 3311 North Halsted, around 10:30 p.m.
On October 25, a charity donation box on the store’s parking lot was also set on fire, although police never filed a report in that case. Cops have not yet linked Monday’s suspect with the earlier fire or with a third suspicious blaze that was set in the area recently.
The fire department and police responded to Monday’s fire after 911 callers saw it spreading to nearby wires and the building shared by Sherwin-Williams and Out of The Closet, a popular resale shop. The buildings were not damaged, according to police.
Witnesses told police they saw the local troublemaker lingering in the alley around the time of the fire and then saw him walk away after the fire started. The suspect, a 32-year-old Hispanic man, was wearing a big puffy coat and was seen walking northbound in the alley after the fire started. CWBChicago is not identifying the man by name because he has not been charged with a crime.
Police records show he has been arrested more than 20 times in recent years for theft, battery, trespassing, and other less serious crimes.
A clothing donation box that sat on the Sherwin-Williams parking lot burned in a suspicious fire at 8:30 p.m. on October 25. But police did not file a report because they could not identify anyone as a “victim” of that case, records show.
On October 31, someone set fire to the floors of a condominium that was undergoing renovations in the 700 block of West Cornelia, according to CPD records. The offender broke a window to get inside. Police categorized the crime as criminal damage to property.
Detectives are investigating Monday’s fire.