A Pine Township
resident was arrested on charges of arson, criminal mischief, and public
intoxication, after the Porter County Sheriff’s Police said that he set a
garage on fire.
police, at 6:59 a.m. a resident of the 1500 block of Illinois Ave. in Pine
Township was wakened by his wife, who told him that an unknown man was
knocking on their door and yelling. The resident then observed the man
exiting his garage, “holding a gas can, as smoke began to rise from his
garage.” He also observed that the “window on his garage had been broken
Police said that
approximately 400 paintings in the garage valued at $20,000 and the garage
itself, valued at $50,000, were damaged in the fire.
officer subsequently made contact with a suspect, located in the area of
U.S. Highway 12 and Illinois Ave. and identified as Alexzander Wiegel Sr.,
36, of 2959 W. Dunes Highway, who advised police that he had been in his
home “when two Muslim men entered and threatened to shoot him,” police said,
prompting him to run “out the door” in the direction of Illinois Street.
Wiegel advised that he was followed by the two men, who were shooting at
him, and in an attempt to evade them he used a gas can to break a window in
Wiegel “said he
didn’t start the fire,” police said. “(He) advised he doesn’t hallucinate
and said he had been drinking earlier and that he drinks more than the
average man. When (Wiegel) was again asked about the fire he said he
believed he needed a lawyer present.”
Police said that
Wiegel had sustained “multiple minor cuts to his arms” and that his shirt
Police also said
that “multiple red stains were located on the exterior of the home and
porch” and on a Bic lighter located near an open gate “that also had a red
stain on it.”
Wiegel showed signs
of intoxication and registered a blood alcohol content of .19 percent on a
portable breath test, police said.
transported to Porter County Jail.
The fire was being
investigated by the Porter County Fire Investigation Strike Team, police