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Posted on Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 8:53 p.m.

Washtenaw County prosecutors charge man with arson in Thompson Block fire

By Tom Perkins

A man long suspected of setting fire to the Thompson Block in Ypsilanti's Depot Town last fall was charged with arson, authorities revealed today.

Before today, officials hadn't even labeled the fire - which gutted much of the historic building - arson. They long said the early morning blaze on Sept. 23 was suspicious, but remained under investigation.

Ypsilanti Fire Marshal Jon Ichesco said tonight that a warrant for Jacob Robert-Andrew Popiolek was issued by the Washtenaw County Prosecutor's Office late last week. As of tonight, authorities hadn't been able to locate him.

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Fire gutted the Thompson Block in September.

Ichesco said Popiolek was considered a "person of interest" and was interviewed early in the investigation. He said investigators also had several witnesses who identified Peopiolek.

Ichesco said the motive isn't known.

“It was pretty good cop work,” Ichesco said. “They followed every lead, and there were a lot of them, and it kept coming back to the same person.”

Ypsilanti Police Chief Amy Walker could not be reached for comment tonight.

"The fire at the Thompson Block building was the single most mentally traumatic event of my life, so I do hope whoever is responsible is convicted and justice is served on the matter," said developer Stewart Beal, whose Historic Equities Fund 1 LLC owns the building.

Since the fire, Beal and the city have been entangled in a legal battle over shoring in the street that's supporting the structure. Beal has pledged to renovate the building.

No further details on Popiolek or the investigation were available tonight.

Anyone with information on Popiolek's whereabouts is asked to call Ypsilanti police at 734-483-9510.



Thu, Apr 29, 2010 : 7:54 a.m.

So far, so good. I'm sure the YPD is working hard to find this guy. Arsonists are such frightening individuals and such a danger to everyone.

Steve Pepple

Thu, Apr 29, 2010 : 7:43 a.m.

A comment was removed because it speculated about unsubstantiated allegations.

dading dont delete me bro

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 : 8:05 p.m.

i hope they catch this alleged suspect.