Suspect in Thompson Block arson surrenders to authorities
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.
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.