Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Evanston police solve hot case gone cold

A Chicago man was arrested last week and charged with arson, concluding an investigation by the Evanston Police Department that lasted one and a half years.

Marco Antonio Estrada, 20, of the 7200 block of N. Ridge Ave., was taken into custody Jan. 6 after he was identified by a security video, said Cmdr. James Elliot of EPD.

Estrada was placed in the Cook County Jail.

The alleged arson occurred at the 1700 block of Maple Avenue on Aug. 7, 2006, Elliot said. Estrada allegedly started a fire in a waste compactor near the loading dock of the Century theater complex at 1715 Maple Ave.

The fire was immediately identified as a “suspicious fire” by the Evanston Fire Department, which declined to comment on the story.

Police were able to recover a video from a camera at the loading dock.

“We reviewed the video and saw the subject entering the area just prior to the fire and then leaving that same area,” Elliot said. “And the video showed there was smoke in that area.”

Several employees of businesses in the area whom The Daily contacted said they did not remember the incident and it did not affect their business.

The police received the video from the loading dock in late 2006, Elliot said, but identifying and tracking down the subject took a long time.

“We had to recover the video and we had to identify the subject … and we had to find him,” he said. “It was somewhat time-consuming, but we located him and questioned him and proved the charge of arson on Jan. 6.”

Elliot said the case symbolizes the persistence of EPD.

“It’s just a case that we don’t ever give up, and even if it’s after a year and a half, we do locate suspects,” he said. “We don’t give up when we have an open case, and this did result in the charge of the alleged perpetrator of the incident.”

Estrada is set to appear at Circuit Court in Skokie on Jan. 23.

Reach Brian Rosenthal at [email protected].

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Evanston police solve hot case gone cold