As Halloween approaches, individuals across the United States are adorning their surroundings to commemorate the evening when, in accordance with ancient Scots-Irish folklore, spirits roam among the living. Yet, for those residing in Chicago, this year’s festivity introduces a fresh source of dread. It appears that an individual with malicious intent is setting ablaze these decorations, endangering both homes and lives.
On the 4th of October, the Chicago Police Department’s 19th District documented the initial instance of intentional fire-setting aimed at seasonal embellishments. By the 16th of October, they were actively seeking the individual accountable for a minimum of eight fires, all of which encompassed either decorations or refuse containers.
A few of the initial incidents focused on sidewalk decorations, but the most recent three, transpiring between the 11th and 16th of October, exclusively involved ornamented porches. Tragically, one family was compelled to vacate their residence due to the destruction inflicted by the fires.
The source of these fires is not shrouded in mystery, and we can confidently eliminate any notions of witchcraft or supernatural entities like poltergeists. A Ring doorbell camera captured the culprit in the act, and law enforcement officials describe the suspect as a Caucasian male, aged between 35 and 40, with receding hair, a beard, mustache, and glasses. While no arrests have occurred thus far, a “person of interest” has been interviewed regarding their potential involvement in these arson incidents.
Meanwhile, while awaiting the apprehension and formal charges against the wrongdoer, law enforcement officers are advising residents to relocate their Halloween or autumn decorations farther from their residences. By doing so, if the arsonist were to strike again, the risk of flames extending to a dwelling and jeopardizing its occupants’ safety would be mitigated. The police are also strongly encouraging individuals with any pertinent information to reach out to the Bureau of Detectives.
The contemporary custom of celebrating Halloween has its roots in Scotland and Ireland and was introduced to the United States by Scottish settlers through Canada. It has since become one of our nation’s most widely embraced annual festivities. However, this popular celebration also presents criminals with opportunities to sow chaos, as is currently evident in Chicago.