The man supposedly behind the Macoupin County fires is finally behind bars and faces 11 different counts including four counts of aggravated arson, six counts of arson, and one count of criminal damage to property. The arrest was made in Gillespie on Tuesday evening, March 17, after a 10th fire was started earlier the same day.
The defendant is identified as Christopher Walker, 30, of Carlinville but also has ties to Gillespie. He is being held at the Macoupin County Jail without a bond.
Macoupin County Sheriff Shawn Kahl told TheBenGilPost.com Walker was arrested in Gillespie around 10 p.m. on Tuesday by the Macoupin County Sheriff’s Office and the State Fire Marshal’s Office. Kahl credited the arrest to the task force he created last week.
“The task force was comprised of the sheriff’s office, the State Fire Marshal’s office, Illinois State Police, Secretary of State Police, and Carlinville Police Department,” Sheriff Kahl commented. “We had multiple leads and Walker was a suspect. Last night the leads led to putting Walker in custody.”
There have been 10 fires deemed arson-related with six occurring in March. The first fire started on January 26 and the latest one was started Tuesday evening, March 17, when first responders were called to an abandoned house on fire on Illinois Route 4 near Lake Williamson between Gillespie and Carlinville.
The fires allegedly set by Walker include seven hay barn fires, one open hay fire, and two abandoned houses. The fires haven’t been in close proximity either. Two fires were south of Carlinville, two were east of Gillespie, one was west of Carlinville, two were north of Carlinville, two were north of Mt. Olive, and one was northeast of Carlinville.