Two homeless men charged with setting Pinball Pete's fire
Two homeless men are accused of deliberately setting fire to the old Pinball Pete's building near the University of Michigan campus in October, Ann Arbor police said.
Justin Arens, 21, and Ian MacKenzie, 18, are charged with arson of personal property, preparation to burn and arson of real property, Det. Sgt. Brian Jatczak said this afternoon.
"We haven't determined what the motive would be at this point," Jatczak said.
Lon Horwedel | AnnArbor.com
The Oct. 24 blaze gutted the South University Avenue building. Investigators found traces of an accelerant, and Detective Dave Monroe said gasoline was believed to be used.
Monroe declined to say what the men told investigators in interviews after their arrests. He said tips from the public helped identify the men as suspects.
No one was injured, but the fire forced the evacuations of nearby buildings, including the high-rise University Towers. More than 600 U-M students were evacuated, and four apartments had heavy smoke and water damage.
The building hadn't been occupied since 2001 and had become a haven for young loiterers and possibly squatters.
Monroe said one of the suspects was known to stay in the vacant building on occasion.
Arens was arrested Saturday after detectives spotted him on the street in Ann Arbor, Jatczak said. He is being held at Washtenaw County jail on $100,000 bond, jail officials said.
Arens has prior convictions for second-degree home invasion in Washtenaw and Wayne counties. He was sentenced in both cases in 2007 to probation.
MacKenzie turned himself in this morning at the police station, Jatczak said. He was arraigned this afternoon and is being held on $50,000 bond.
Ann Arbor Fire Marshal Kathleen Chamberlain could not be reached for comment today.
Both men will appear for preliminary hearings next Wednesday.
Amalie Nash of AnnArbor.com contributed to this report.
Lee Higgins covers crime and courts for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at (734) 623-2527 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.