Friday, January 16, 2015

Uptown Arsonist Pleads Guilty and Is Sentenced; Questions Remain

Fire engulfs the back porches of
919-23 W. Margate Terrace
Thanks to our colleagues at Crime in Wrigleyville & Boystown for sending us heads up that Daniel Grunauer, suspected of setting many arson fires in Uptown and Lakeview in 2014, has pleaded guilty to attempted arson in Margate Park and of trespassing at the Somerset shortly before another fire broke out there in June.

He received "a 3 year sentence for trying to set an Uptown dumpster ablaze in August. He received another 5 years for breaking into an apartment building [the Somerset] that was undergoing renovations on June 8. An arson fire swept through a section of the building that same day." The sentences will run concurrently.

He is suspected of setting more fires, including the one at Somerset Place last June and the one in Margate Park in August that displaced several families and led to the death of Jaden, a much-loved family cat.  He's also suspected of a series of garage and alley fires in the Lakeview area, many of which occurred just after his place of employment closed for the evening.

When he was arrested in September, he was working a as a bartender at Fiesta Cantina in Wrigleyville and living on the 900 block of Ainslie.  You can read the entire story at the Crime in Wrigleyville blog here.  Good work to the police and state's attorneys for getting him off the streets; arson is a very difficult crime to find someone guilty of because the arsonist has to be found in the act of setting a fire.  Hopefully we can all sleep a little easier tonight.

Our condolences to everyone who lost someone or something due to the arson fires of the past year.

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