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Posted on Thu, Aug 26, 2010 : 3 p.m.

Suspect in Thompson Block arson surrenders to authorities

By Amalie Nash

A 21-year-old man accused of starting a fire that severely damaged the Thompson Block building in Ypsilanti turned himself in to authorities.

Jacob Robert-Andrew Popiolek was arraigned Tuesday on a charge of arson to real property, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. He was released on personal bond.


Jacob Popiolek

Last week, authorities said they received a tip that Popiolek was in Arizona.

Details of his surrender weren't available today. Ypsilanti police said it appears Popiolek turned himself in at a local court, and Popiolek's attorney, Thomas Moors, couldn't immediately be reached this afternoon.

Court files show Popiolek was arraigned before Magistrate Thomas Truesdell, who released him on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond. He is scheduled to return to court for a preliminary hearing on Aug. 31.

Ypsilanti Police Chief Amy Walker previously said detectives believe several people were trespassing in the Thompson Block on Sept. 23 when an early morning blaze gutted the historic structure’s interior. She said it appears they were drinking and smoking when the fire was sparked. So far, Popiolek is the only person charged in the case.

The Thompson Block building was under renovation at the time of the fire. Its fate became a point of contention between the city and developer Stewart Beal. In the latest development this week, supports propping up the west wall of the building were removed from River Street.



Sat, Sep 25, 2010 : 5:39 a.m.

Seems as though it would still be malicios destruction of property whether or not intentionaly. Sounds like they were tresspassing and had an illegal bonfire at their little party.


Fri, Aug 27, 2010 : 8:10 a.m.

I have no doubt that this guy and his friends might have been in the Thompson Building smoking and drinking that night, but they're still gonna' have to prove "intent" to convict him of anything more than trespassing. In my experience, floppers (like this guys) often cause fires, but seldom intentionally burn a place that they feel comfortable in. BTW - Gin, Vodka, etc.(which are usually 40% ethyl alcohol) can easily fuel a fire - if that's your intent.


Thu, Aug 26, 2010 : 3:58 p.m.

"Maybe we'll finally get to the bottom of why he torched the Thompson Block. There's always been something fishy about that whole thing...." So fishy that I wouldn't claim he "torched" anything. But agreed the story was weird. Set ablaze by some "liquor." never understood that.


Thu, Aug 26, 2010 : 3:36 p.m.

Maybe we'll finally get to the bottom of why he torched the Thompson Block. There's always been something fishy about that whole thing....

dading dont delete me bro

Thu, Aug 26, 2010 : 2:50 p.m.

" appears Popiolek turned himself in at a local court,..." where is local? here in ypsilanti or arizona. the article is not clear about this.