Galesburg man charged again with aggravated arson

A 33-year-old man is in the Knox County Jail on aggravated arson charges for allegedly setting a fire in an apartment building.

Roberto Rodriguez made a video appearance Tuesday where Judge James G. Baber set his bond at $100,000 and appointed the public defender’s office to represent him.

According to Galesburg police, officers were called out to the 1400-block of Grand Avenue, where Rodriguez was living, on a call that there was a fire inside of a residence that had been extinguished.

Galesburg Fire personnel confirmed the fire had been extinguished and informed officers that there was a concern that Rodriguez had been the source of the fire, based on his behavior.

Officers found him sitting in a bathtub with burns on his arm, but told police that he didn’t need any help. He allegedly told police that a candle had fallen over and caused the fire. He said he took the candle to the dumpster in a sealed bag and threw it away.

Officers observed burnt material and noticed parts of the window sill, walls, and floor to be burned. A small glass smoking pipe and a clear plastic baggie containing several pieces of semi-transparent shards were also seen. Those shards would field test positive for methamphetamine.

A witness told police that they were in Rodriguez’s apartment repairing a toilet when they smelled smoke. They found the window, curtain, and floor was on fire and used a blanket to smother the fire out.

It was noted that there several people in the apartment at the time of the incident.

It was also noted that Rodriguez has previously been arrested for arson – most recently in December of 2018. The charges in the case were dropped this year and he plead guilty to Criminal Damage to Property instead.

Rodriguez will be back in Knox County Circuit Court

on Monday, July 22nd.

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