Halloween arsonist strikes again in Lincoln Square

Only minor damage was visible after someone set a Halloween decoration on fire (inset) Saturday morning in Lincoln Square. | Ring; Provided

CHICAGO — Someone set fire to a Lincoln Square homeowner’s Halloween decoration early on Saturday morning. We first told you last week about an arsonist who has committed several similar crimes in the area. One of those fires caused extensive damage to a home, forcing two families to relocate.

The latest fire occurred around 2:45 a.m. Saturday in the 4900 block of North Bell. The homeowner uploaded video to the Ring network showing a hanging decoration on fire, but the security system did not record any footage of the arsonist.

In the footage, a large flame crawled up the side of the house, then subsided after a few seconds. Later, minor damage was visible on the home’s stonework and siding, but the fire did not spread to the home.

A North Center homeowner was not as lucky last Monday when an arsonist set fire to a decorative hay bale on their porch in the 3600 block of North Hoyne. That fire quickly spread to the wood frame home, leaving extensive damage to the front part of the house. Everyone got out safely but had to be relocated until repairs were made.

Chicago police released an alert about the pattern later in the week, saying a serial arsonist was responsible for at least eight fires in the area this month:

  • 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

His usual technique is to set fire to hay bales, barrels of hay, and scarecrows that people and businesses put out as decorations, according to reports provided to CWBChicago.

On October 7, several small fires broke out along Lincoln Avenue in the heart of Lincoln Square. Only minor damage was reported. Another small fire was set in the 4000 block of North Lincoln early on October 9.

Two days later, a haybale was set ablaze next to a porch in the 2100 block of West Agatite around 3:11 a.m. The owner put it out and didn’t file a police report. About 20 minutes after that, the arsonist set a hay barrel on fire on a porch in the 2200 block of West Roscoe. Again, the owners extinguished the fire before any serious damage occurred.

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

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.

Last weekend, a man who resembles the arsonist was caught on camera as he used scissors to decapitate Halloween inflatables in the neighborhood. That footage was posted to the Ring network. Watch:

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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