CHICAGO — A community alert was issued Tuesday for a suspected arsonist targeting some Halloween and fall decorations on the North Side.

Chicago police are looking for a suspect described as a white man, 35 to 40 years old, 6′ feet tall, balding with a beard and mustache.

He has been seen wearing glasses, a black jacket, blue jeans and a messenger bag.

The man is accused of targeting Halloween and fall decorations throughout Lincoln Square, North Center and Roscoe Village. CPD said the last three fires were ignited on front porches.

A timeline of the incidents is below, per Chicago police.

  • 4600 block of North Lincoln on Oct. 4 at 1:50 a.m.
  • 2100 block of West Montrose Oct. 4 at 3:48 a.m.
  • 4500 block of North Lincoln on Oct. 4 at 4 a.m.
  • 4600 block of North Lincoln on Oct. 7 at 4:13 a.m.
  • 4000 block of North Lincoln on Oct. 9 at 2:58 a.m.
  • 2100 block of West Agatite on Oct. 11 at 3:10 a.m.
  • 2200 block of West Roscoe on Oct. 11 at 3:43 a.m.
  • 3600 block of North Hoyne on Oct. 16 at 3:27 a.m.

In the Hoyne fire, no injuries were reported but the building’s owner said all three floors were affected and thousands of dollars worth of damage was inflicted.

WGN News also spoke with the tenant, who didn’t wish to be named, and he said he awoke to loud noises near the window after falling asleep on the couch. He rushed to get his two small children out of the home and alerted tenants in the other unit.

The fire department rushed to the scene quickly and got the fire out, the man said.

In a statement, 47th Ward Ald. Matt Martin recommends residents in the area to remove any hay-based decorations.

I am shocked and saddened by a man’s repeated acts to destroy—including through arson—Halloween decorations in and near our 47th Ward community. Beyond casting a cloud over an otherwise joyous family holiday, his awful actions have threatened the lives of our neighbors, including children.

My thanks to CPD for directing patrols in the area to focus on this important issue, and to the arson detectives who continue to pour over video and other evidence. I encourage anyone with potentially relevant information to share it with CPD immediately, and to remove any hay-based decorations that are outside of their homes.

On Wednesday morning, Chicago police said a person of interest is in custody for questioning.

That person was released after the questioning and no one is currently in custody.

Anyone with information can call police at 312-746-7618 or submit an anonymous tip at