Man set stolen car on fire one day after cops questioned him about stealing the car, prosecutors say

A man who was convicted of an anti-Semitic hate crime in 2018, then got kicked out of his court-ordered hate crime education program for allegedly threatening a Black man with a baseball bat, is in trouble again. This time, prosecutors say, Alvin Dawod set a stolen car on fire in West Rogers Park one day after investigators questioned him about the vehicle theft.

Alvin Dawod | CCSO

Police and fire personnel went to the 7400 block of North Washtenaw at 4:36 p.m. on May 18 to handle calls of a car fire. Investigators spoke with a woman who said she saw a man get out of the car, spray it with a liquid from a spray bottle, and then set it on fire.

She also directed police to a nearby trash can where she saw the man ditch the spray bottle, prosecutors said. Both the bottle and the car reeked of gasoline.

Investigators found surveillance video that showed a man leaving the area of the fire. Chicago detectives sent images of the man to other departments, and a cop in Skokie recognized the suspect as Dawod.

The Skokie cop allegedly told CPD detectives that they spoke with Dawod about an auto theft one day before the fire — and the stolen car in question was the one that had been set ablaze.

Prosecutors charged Dawod, 32, with auto theft and burglary on Monday and then charged him with arson on Tuesday.

His public defender said he lives with his parents in Skokie and works as an HVAC technician.

Judge David Navarro set bail for the arson charge at $100,000. Navarro pointed to Dawod’s hate crime conviction as a factor he took into consideration while pondering bail conditions.

The hate crime conviction stems from a May 2018 incident in Skokie. Dawod pleaded guilty after prosecutors said he shouted anti-Semitic slurs at a Jewish man and kicked the victim’s car in a parking lot.

Judge Michael Hood sentenced him to 30 months probation because the 45-year-old victim specifically asked that Dawod not receive prison time, according to a 2018 report in The Patch. The judge also imposed other requirements, including a 7 p.m. curfew, and participation in anger management and hate crime education programs.

Those classes didn’t go very well. Just a few months after being sentenced, Dawod was kicked out of the hate crime class because he allegedly threatened a Black man with a baseball bat while using a racial slur.

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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