Suspected arsonist may be targeting Chicago Halloween displays; latest fire in North Center

Cate Cauguiran Image
Tuesday, October 17, 2023
Suspected arsonist may be targeting Chicago Halloween displays
North Center residents say Chicago police told them a suspect arsonist may be targeting Halloween and fall holiday displays outside homes.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Neighbors along Hoyne Avenue in Chicago's North Center neighborhood are on high alert of a suspected arsonist, who may be targeting the spirit of Halloween.

Al Victorine's home features an impressive display of ghouls and goblins. While it could scare some, Victorine said the real threat lurking around Chicago neighborhoods is a man an overnight arson attack that left his neighbors' front door boarded up.

"Be aware. This guy's running around doing bad things," he said.

Victorine said Monday morning he and his family were awoken by the sound of police and fire trucks outside their home after a fire broke out on their neighbor's front porch.

"Their whole front porch went up. It started with the hay, ignited, took away their whole vestibule and both families are at hotels now," he said.

Chicago police said the fire began just before 3:30 a.m. on Hoyne near Waveland. No one was seriously injured.

One neighbor shared video of a man walking away from the fire after it started.

Victorine said investigators went door-to-door, telling neighbors the individual captured in multiple surveillance videos may be linked to at least a dozen other arson attacks by igniting fall decorations like small bales of hay.

"He said this isn't the first. It's been several attacks already on people, businesses in the 47th Ward," said Victorine.

He said knowing this, he wished his neighbors had gotten notice about the suspected arsonist sooner.

"You're dealing with lives so that's all I can say. I hope they catch him," he said.

Chicago police said the case remains under investigation. No one is in custody.