CHICAGO (WLS) — Chicago police sent out a community alert about eight fires, many of which targeted Halloween decorations, that they believe may be the work of a possible serial arsonist.
Police sent out the alert about eight fires between October 4 and October 16, all in the 19th Police District which includes the neighborhoods of Lincoln Square and North Center.
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In each case, police said, the suspected arsonist set sidewalk autumn/Halloween displays and street corner garbage cans on fire. In the most recent three incidents, police said, he has set fires using decorations on front porches.
The fire set early Monday morning on North Hoyne Street caused damage to the home but no injuries, police said.
Craig Deering lives on Lincoln Avenue near one of the incidents.
“My wife and I were asleep and it was like four in the morning and we woke up to the smell of like a bonfire in the apartment” he recalled. “When I came outside the whole block was just in smoke, and we saw flames over there by the tree, and I immediately ran back up to the apartment to get my phone and call 911.”
At the time, the neighborhood was still decorated with scarecrows and hay bales left over from Apple Fest. Neighbors said those decorations were targeted three times in two nights.
“Even if it’s just hooliganism. They came over and did it again,” said neighbor Zoe Johnson.
Chicago police said the following incidents are included in their alert:
“A lot of people could get hurt. I don’t know why you would do it. It’s a fun holiday and you’re ruining it for everyone and putting people’s lives in danger,” said Deering.
Police described the suspected arsonist as a white man between the ages of 35 and 40, about 6 ft. tall with a slender build, balding with a beard and mustache. He was seen wearing glasses, a black jacket, blue jeans and carrying a messenger bag.
If you have information about the suspect or these fires, call Chicago police at 312-746-7618.