Halloween arsonist is prowling North Side, Chicago cops warn in new community alert

Charred Halloween decorations lie on the burned porch of a home in the 3600 block of North Hoyne after an arsonist set fire to a decorative hay bale on October 16, 2023. | CWBChicago

Chicago police issued a community alert on Tuesday morning to warn North Side residents about a serial arsonist who is setting fire to elaborate Halloween displays.

We first told you about the man and shared surveillance pictures and video of the suspect on Monday evening.

CPD’s alert says the firebug started his crime spree by igniting street corner garbage cans and sidewalk displays celebrating Halloween and autumn. He usually sets fire to hay bales, barrels of hay, and stuffed scarecrows that people and businesses put out as decorations.

But things have become much more serious. He set his three most recent fires on residential porches, and one of those caused extensive damage to an occupied home in the 3600 block of North Hoyne on Monday morning.

The arson suspect is seen in a screengrab from a second incident. | Ring

Thankfully, no injuries were reported, but two families had to relocate.

The man is suspected of setting fires:

  • in the 4600 block of North Lincoln at 1:50 a.m. on October 4
  • in the 2100 block of West Montrose at 3:48 a.m. on October 4
  • in the 4500 block of North Lincoln at 4 a.m. on October 4
  • in the 4600 block of North Lincoln at 4:13 a.m. on October 7
  • in the 4000 block of North Lincoln at 2:58 a.m. on October 9
  • in the 2100 block of West Agatite at 3:10 a.m. on October 11
  • in the 2200 block of West Roscoe at 3:43 a.m. on October 11
  • in the 3600 block of North Hoyne at 3:27 a.m. on October 16

A handful of smaller fires have also occurred, but police reports were not completed, according to neighbors who spoke with CWBChicago this week.

Police described him as White, 35 to 40 years old, and about 6 feet tall. He is slim, balding, has a beard and mustache, and usually wears glasses while carrying a messenger bag.

Over the weekend, a North Center resident posted video to the Ring network of a man resembling the arson suspect who cut the heads off of inflatable Halloween characters in their yard. Watch:

Another image shared on the network showed the arson suspect peering onto a porch in the area.

Anyone with information that might help investigators can call CPD’s arson section at 312-746-7618. Refer to crime pattern #P23-3-019-079.

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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 news@cwbchicago.com