Chesterton Tribune



PCSP: Man charged with arson in Pine garage fire

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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.

According to 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 completely.”

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.

An investigating 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 the garage.

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 was blood-stained.

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.

Wiegel was transported to Porter County Jail.

The fire was being investigated by the Porter County Fire Investigation Strike Team, police said.


Posted 5/7/2018







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