Police: Chicago man sets fire to building, live-streams entire incident and brags about the blaze

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CHICAGO, IL- According to reports, a Chicago man is accused of setting a fire that spread to a Lawndale home and then broadcasted a video of the arson where he bragged about setting the blaze as the building continued to burn. 

The man, since identified as 19-year-old Edward Robinson, was arrested shortly after and charged with aggravated arson and possession of a controlled substance. 

According to CWB Chicago, Robinson posted the video to the controversial app “Citizen,” which claims to improve public safety by telling users about unverified police and fire radio traffic. The app also reportedly lets users live stream video from crime scenes. 

Prosecutors stated that Robinson set a family’s home on fire and then confessed to starting the blaze multiple times as he live-streamed the scene on Citizen. As he live-streamed the footage, Robinson said:

“I’m live on the Citizen app! Gang! Hey y’all, I’m gonna be honest with y’all. I just caused this fire with this torch in my pocket. The person recording is the reason this fire is happening.”

As he panned his camera from the fire to the lighter in his pants, he said:

“I caused this fire with this lighter.”

According to authorities, Robinson set fire to a dumpster that was on the north side of a building on South Christina Avenue just before 6:30 p.m., Thursday, September 9th. The building gradually erupted into flames and two females, ages 16 and 50 were inside at the time, but thankfully able to escape unscathed.

A police spokesperson said a witness rang their doorbell and told them to get out of the house because it was on fire. Prosecutors said that all three floors of the building suffered significant damage in the blaze.

Robinson was ordered held on a $500,000 bail and will need to post $50, 000 to get out of jail. If he posts bail, he will be required to have electronic monitoring. Prior to this incident, Robinson was convicted three times as a juvenile for illegal gun possession.

During his bond appearance on Saturday, September 11th, Assistant Public Defender Courtney Smallwood said that Robinson is the father of two children and pointed out that no injuries were reported from the fire.

After hearing the state’s allegations, Judge Arthur Williams said:

“In this court’s opinion, you were there, you were filming, you were watching what occurred out of enjoyment. It’s through the grace of God that no one was hurt, killed, or injured in any way.”

In a separate incident, a heartless California man has been hit with felony charges for allegedly setting his own down on fire in a Los Angeles park. 

The New York Post reported that the suspect, 24-year-old Brandon Smith, has been charged with animal cruelty after police say he was caught on surveillance video walking into the park on August 22nd and leaving without the dog. 

Days later, the 7-year-old Corgi mix, named Hennesy, was found tied to a pole and badly burned. The helpless dog died a few days later. Carrie-Lynn Neales, of the animal rescue group A Purposeful Rescue, said in a statement:

“I’ve never witnessed something that horrific. On Thursday, I went to see her at our vet and that’s when I saw the extend of the trauma and the abuse. It’s something I’ll never unsee and it was pretty horrific.”

Smith was arraigned on one count each of cruelty to an animal and arson. In a press release, Los Angeles County District Attorney George GascĂłn said that Smith allegedly used lighter fluid to set Hennesy on fire. He added:

“One of the most important responsibilities of my office is to protect the most vulnerable. That includes our pets.”

Smith’s ex-girlfriend, Serena Prentice said that she has a restraining order against him and that he has a history of mental illness and violence. She said:

“The only thing I can think of is just disgust, honestly.”

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Arson suspect in custody, accused of sparking 1300+ acre fire in California

May 20th, 2021

LOS ANGELES, CA – On May 18th, authorities charged a 48-year-old man in connection with the over 1000-acre brush fire that is impacted the Pacific Palisades.

Officials noted that as of the evening of May 18th, the Palisades fire is at a 47% containment.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has confirmed that 48-year-old Ramon Santos Rodriguez was charged with one count of felony arson of a structure or forest and one count of felony arson during a state of emergency in connection with the 1,158-acre fire within the Pacific Palisades.

A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Fire Department, Erik Scott, commented on the identification of the suspect:

“Helicopter pilots had seen him make multiple sets and ID’ed him starting additional fires. So in fact we did have him, not just as an arson suspect, but we were able to completely ID and confirm that, and that’s why we arrested him.”

Authorities apparently knew the identity of the suspect since May 15th, with police and sheriff’s deputies venturing into the fire zone in an effort to take Rodriguez into custody. However, the fire became so overwhelming that authorities had to leave the fire zone.

The suspect was later arrested on May 16th.

Investigators note that Rodriguez is reportedly homeless.

Prior to the identity of the suspect being revealed, Chief Ralph Terrazas of the Los Angeles Fire Department stated in a press conference on May 17th that the suspect that was in custody was treated for smoke inhalation after being apprehended.

Reportedly, a local resident’s call to the Palisades Patrol security team led to Rodriguez’s apprehension on May 16th. Scott Wagenseller, CEO of Palisades Patrol, state the following about Rodriguez’s appearance that led the tipster to contact authorities:

“His appearance was something that told him this man might be related to the fire and was probably somebody who either needed some help or probably had some information.”

Roughly 1,000 Topanga Canyon area residents that were evacuated due to the fire were able to return to their respective homes on the evening of May 17th. The following evening, the Los Angeles Fire Department announced that all evacuation orders had been lifted in the area.

Despite the widespread of the fire, reportedly no structures have been damaged as a result of the fire and no fatalities have been reported. Only one injury came as result, which was described as a minor eye injury to one firefighter.

Rodriguez has reportedly pleaded not guilty to the charges and is being held on bail set at $350,000. He’s slated for his next court appearance on June 1st.

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In other news related to arson cases, the 23-year-old who was part of the group convicted in connection with the burning down of the Minneapolis 3rd Precinct building in May of 2020 has been sentenced to prison. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN â€“ One of the men responsible for the arson that decimated the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct during the riots that occurred in Minneapolis in May of 2020 has been sentenced to prison and ordered to pay $12 million in restitution for the arson.

https://twitter.com/Cookies_N_Milk2/status/1387906913967525888

Back in December of 2020, 23-year-old Dylan Shakespeare Robinson had pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit arson in connection with the fire set to the MPD 3rd precinct building on the night of May 28th during the riots inspired by George Floyd’s in custody death.

Law Enforcement Today had reported about Robinson’s arrest that occurred on June 14th of 2020 where the suspect was actually captured in the municipality of Breckenridge, Colorado.  

Court documents say that Robinson, on the evening of May 28th, 2020, had joined in on the riot that was taking place nearby the MPD 3rd precinct where hundreds of people had amassed and some among the crowd were chanting for people to burn down the police station.

From what the DOJ says of the convicted arsonist, Robinson, along with a band of co-conspirators, had breached the protective fencing around the MPD 3rd precinct and lit a Molotov cocktail that someone else was holding – which was then hurled at the 3rd precinct building.

On April 28th, 2021, Robinson was sentenced for his criminal behavior that led to the destruction of the MPD 3rd precinct building, with him being sentenced to four years in prison and restitution in the amount of $12 million.

Acting U.S. Attorney Anders Folk delivered the following comments regarding Robinson’s sentencing:

“On the night of May 28, 2020, Mr. Robinson chose to depart from lawful protest and instead engaged in violence and destruction. The arson at the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct put lives at risk and contributed to widespread lawlessness in Minneapolis.

“With today’s sentence, Mr. Robinson is held accountable for his actions.”

ATF St. Paul Field Division Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jeff Reed also delivered comments with respect to the case, highlighting the severity of acts of arson:

“ATF is committed to investigating the civil unrest arsons of 2020 that occurred throughout the Twin Cities. Arson, being inherently violent, is a serious crime that put many of our community members at risk, and it cannot be tolerated.”

Michael Paul, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Minneapolis field office, noted that the sentencing of Robinson is extremely important in the sense that no matter how righteous someone feels in their criminal acts, these sorts of behaviors will not be tolerated:

“The danger posed by the defendant in this case was very real. Today’s sentencing sends a clear message—regardless of motivation, when someone is intent on conducting a violent act that breaks federal law, the FBI and our law enforcement partners will move assertively to hold them accountable.

“This type of behavior puts public servants and our entire community in danger, and we simply will not let it go unaddressed.”

On top of the restitution and period of confinement, Robinson will also be required to serve two years of supervised release after his term in prison.

The three other co-conspirators involved in the case, which have all reportedly pled guilty to conspiracy to commit arson, will be getting sentence at a later date, according to the DOJ.

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