Police: Woman set fire because husband smoked all the pot
SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE April 30, 2013 2:02PM
Linda B. Lopez / photo from Riverside police
(RIVERSIDE) A Chicago woman angered that her husband had smoked all their marijuana is charged with starting a fire inside a west suburban apartment, and the local police chief believes her bond was set too low.
Linda B. Lopez, 33, of the 2800 block of S. Drake in Chicago, had been living in an apartment in the 2900 block of Harlem in Riverside for two weeks when she set the fire on Sunday morning, according to a statement from Riverside police.
She is charged with aggravated arson, a Class X felony because the building was occupied at the time. At a bond hearing Tuesday in Maywood, Judge Ann Finley Collins set bond for Lopez at $20,000, though prosecutors had sought a $500,000 bond.
In a statement, Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel called the bond “bizarre,” saying, “The apartment complex was occupied by tenants and two of the tenants were elderly and had disabilities that would have made it almost impossible to escape the building had the fire spread.”
Riverside police were called to the Harlem address by a tenant who said he was awakened by a fire alarm. Officers searched the building and found a small fire in a planter outside and a second blaze fire smoldering inside an apartment on the second floor, the statement said.
The Riverside Fire Department quickly put out the blaze, which damaged an apartment door, wall and floor; and the adjacent hallway, police said.
Police learned that Lopez had been staying in the apartment after the previous tenant, whom they knew, moved out with rent paid through the end of the month, police said.
The couple had been “partying and consuming large amounts of heroin on a daily basis,” the statement said.
On Saturday, the couple went to North Riverside Mall and shoplifted alcohol from an outlet store, then spent the rest of the day drinking, police said. They then went to the West Side of Chicago, where Lopez performed a sex act for money in an alley, and the pair used the money to buy crack cocaine, police said.
Lopez told police she fell asleep early Sunday, and when she woke up, her marijuana was gone. She accused her husband, and the argument turned violent, with Lopez punching and threatening to stab her husband with a knife, according to police.
She then punctured a plastic perfume bottle, poured the perfume on some towels in the hallway and set the towels on fire, according to police.
“The tenants inside the building are lucky to be alive,” Weitzel said in the statement. “The two elderly tenants live in the basement, both are in their late 80s and early 90s, and one is blind and the other is deaf. There’s no possible way these individuals could have made it out of the apartment on their own....”
The chief called it “an extremely disturbing crime in which the offender had absolutely no regard for human life. She left the building believing that at some point the building would become fully engulfed.”
After also igniting the second fire, Lopez left the building. She was later arrested in Berwyn, according to police.