A Logan Square man has been arrested and charged with setting fire to a Halloween bale of hay on one porch and decapitating inflatable figures outside another home in Northwest Side neighborhoods that have been hit by a string of arsons involving holiday decorations.
Mario Munoz, 34, was charged Tuesday with one felony count of arson, accused of setting fire to a Halloween display outside a Roscoe Village home on Oct. 11.
A 31-year-old man discovered the blaze on his porch in the 2200 block of West Roscoe Street just before 4 a.m. and was able to put it out. The flames damaged a decorative bale of hay and the floor and a column on the porch. No injuries were reported, Chicago police said.
Munoz, who lives in the 3900 block of West Fullerton, was also charged with one misdemeanor count of criminal damage to property for an incident the following day in North Center.
A Ring camera allegedly captured Munoz cutting the heads off inflatable Halloween decorations outside a residence in the 4100 block of Maplewood Avenue, according to a police report. No injuries were reported in that incident either.
Munoz appeared in court Wednesday. A judge ruled he would remain in custody while awaiting trial.
So far this month, at least eight Halloween and autumn decoration displays on sidewalks and front porches have been set on fire in the Lincoln Square, North Center and Roscoe Village neighborhoods.
Police said in an Oct. 17 community alert that fires were set at the following times and locations, including the Roscoe porch fire Munoz was charged in connection with:
- 1:50 a.m. Oct. 4 in the 4600 block of North Lincoln Avenue
- 3:48 a.m. Oct. 4 in the 2100 block of West Montrose Avenue
- 4 a.m. Oct. 4 in the 4500 block of North Lincoln Avenue
- 4:13 a.m. Oct. 7 in the 4600 block of North Lincoln Avenue
- 2:58 a.m. Oct. 9 in the 4000 block of North Lincoln Avenue
- 3:10 a.m. Oct. 11 in the 2100 block of West Agatite Avenue
- 3:43 a.m. Oct. 11 in the 2200 block of West Roscoe Street
- 3:27 a.m. Oct. 16 in the 3600 block of North Hoyne Avenue
Another porch fire was reported in the 2200 block of West Ainslie Street around 2 a.m. Saturday, Police wouldn’t say if Halloween decorations were targeted in that fire or whether it was being investigated as possible arson.
No injuries have been reported in any of the fires, but residents were evacuated from the home in the 3600 block of North Hoyne Avenue after a bale of hay used as decoration was set on fire.
One woman who lived near that home said some frightened neighbors have taken down their Halloween decorations for fear of being targeted.
“It’s upsetting to feel like in the middle of the night, out of your control, something like this can happen,” she said last week.
It is not clear if Munoz is a suspect in any of the other fires.