Man Charged With Arson After Four Suspicious Fires In Midlothian

CHICAGO (CBS) — Midlothian police have arrested a man wanted for a series of arsons last week.

Lawrence Watkins, 53, of Midlothian has been charged with four counts of arson for a string of fires between 9:15 p.m. Thursday night and 2:15 a.m. Friday morning.

RELATED: Authorities In Midlothian Investigate Four Suspicious Fires

Midlothian Police Department & Fire Department were dispatched June 8 around 9:14 p.m. to the 3200 block of West 147th Street. for a report of a dumpster fire. A few minutes later, around 9:24 p.m. crews were dispatched to the 14600 block of Sawyer Avenue for a report of a fire to a residence in the attached garage. A few hours later, around 11:11 p.m. crews were dispatched to the 14600 block of Spaulding Avenue for a report of a porch on fire. On June 9, around 2:13 a.m. the Midlothian Police Department & Fire Department responded to the 14600 block of South Kedzie Avenue for a large trash receptacle on fire.

All fires were extinguished. There were no reported injuries sustained by any residents, civilians, or first responders.

Midlothian Interim Police Chief Dan Delaney said Watkins was arrested less than four hours after the last fire was set.

“They developed some information on this individual, as a person on interest. At that time was when he was taken to the police station for an interview. It was at that time they had enough to charge him,” Delaney said.

The Midlothian Police Department completed the investigation of the four suspicious fires. A suspect, along with evidence connected 53-year-old Lawrence Watkins as the offender.

Watkins is accused of setting four fires; two in garbage bins, one on a porch and one in a residential garage. He was charged with one count of felony residential arson, one count of felony aggravated arson, and two counts of felony arson.

Delaney did not offer a possible motive for the arsons.

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