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Archive for December 6th, 2012

Restitution Limited For Convicted Westclox Arsonist

Posted by wlpo on December 6, 2012

Besides prison time, the teen convicted in the Westclox fire will owe thousands in restitution right?  Wrong.

Judge H. Chris Ryan said by law he could only force Steven Gallacher to pay for out of pocket costs related to the Westclox blaze.  In this case, restitution will be a thousand dollar deductible to the city of La Salle and 500 dollar deductible to Test Inc, Cohard Jewelers and McConville Studios.

The owner of Westclox claimed 250 thousand dollars in losses but the judge mentioned the owner only turned in a sentence about the damages without any details of how he came up with the damage estimate.  It was mentioned in court Thursday that the building owner didn’t have Westclox insured at the time of the New Year’s fire.

Fire departments who spent time battling the Westclox blaze claimed over 200 thousand dollars in costs while the city of Peru and businesses in the Westclox building estimated their costs were over 100 thousand dollars.  The losses though will or already have been reimbursed by insurance.

One of the former business owners in Westclox, Amanda Andreoni of Marien Mae Bridal Boutique says it took her two moves and almost a year to get back on her feet.  She did say that the 10-year prison sentence for Gallacher was fair in her eyes.

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Decade Prison Sentence For Westclox Teen

Posted by wlpo on December 6, 2012

“I’m not a bad kid, I just made a mistake”. That “mistake” of setting Westclox on fire New Year’s Eve night has 18-year old Steven Gallacher of La Salle headed to prison.

Judge H. Chris Ryan sentenced Gallacher to 10 years after he was found guilty of aggravated arson.  Gallacher read a statement where he apologized to firefighters battling the blaze, especially former La Salle firefighter Steve Smith whose injury during the fire made the charges a Class X felony. The teen was stoic when his prison sentence was announced, not shedding a tear unlike his mother who was seated behind him.

In announcing his judgement, Judge Ryan seemed to put an emphasis on a letter written by the injured firefighter.  Ryan called the firefighter’s injuries “substantial”. He also said he would’ve been more lenient with the sentence if Gallacher had pled guilty and agreed to a quicker resolution.

Gallacher says he was smoking weed and drinking alcohol New Year’s Eve when he and a younger teen from Peru “got bored” and went into Westclox. Gallacher lit a boat on fire initially but the fire ended up destroyed a large chunk of the old clock factory. Over 20 fire departments fought the fire for a full two days.  Flare up fires continued for a full month.

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Four Charged In Putnam County Break-In And Beating

Posted by wlpo on December 6, 2012

Four people in Putnam County are accused of breaking into a man’s home and beating him.

Putnam County deputies say that just after 10 Saturday night, they got a call of an alleged home invasion in McNabb.  Officers say they arrived to find a beaten victim who was taken to St. Margaret’s Hospital where he was later treated and released.

Warrants soon after were issued for Stephanie Massutti and Timothy Bookwalter of McNabb and Anthony and Nathan Webb of Granville.  Massutti and Bookwalter were arrested Sunday on warrants for mob action.  Nathan Webb turned himself in Monday and was arrested for mob action and home invasion.  He was out of prison on parole.

Anthony Webb finally turned himself in today to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.  He was also charged with mob action and home invasion.

Bond for Nathan Webb is 75 thousand dollars.  Bond for Anthony Webb is 40 thousand.  Massutti and Bookwalter were given bonds of 25 thousand dollars apiece.

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House Fire Near Mendota

Posted by wlpo on December 6, 2012

While you were probably sleeping, nearly 30 area firefighters were battling a house fire.

The call came in just after 2 this morning for a fire at 3952 East 3rd Road which is southeast of Mendota.  No one was hurt but the Red Cross was called to assist the family living at the home.  The home took on an estimated 100 thousand dollars in damage.

Firefighters were on scene for nearly four hours.  Crews from Mendota, Troy Grove, Utica, La Salle and Peru responded.

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Annual Ice Sculpting Event Returns To Ottawa

Posted by wlpo on December 6, 2012

It’s time to get the ice and chainsaws out in Ottawa.

The city’s 4th Annual Ice Odyssey is this Saturday from 8 until 4.  Besides a holiday bazaar, carriage rides and pictures with Santa, the main attraction will be ice sculpting from 11 until 1 on Jefferson Street.

Jaimie London will broadcast from the Ice Odyssey starting at 10 on 96.5 the Wolf.

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Fatal Fire Not Linked To Streator Arsons

Posted by wlpo on December 6, 2012

There are about 20 unsolved arsons in the past year and a half in Streator.  This week’s fatal fire doesn’t appear to be adding to the list.

62-year old Brent Vorhees was pronounced dead at the scene of a Tuesday afternoon fire in the 500 block of South Vermilion Street.  Streator Detective Robert Turner says it doesn’t look like this fire is related to a bunch of arsons in the city dating back to last spring.  Among the unsolved fires are the August fires of Lipton Tea building and an apartment fire that killed a 5-year old girl

Turner says this past Tuesday’s fire started inside Vorhees’ home.  Investigators are unsure if there were any working smoke detectors when the fire broke out Tuesday afternoon.

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Westclox Arson Sentencing Scheduled For Today

Posted by wlpo on December 6, 2012

Before Judge H. Chris Ryan in Ottawa today,  18-year old Steven Gallacher of LaSalle was sentenced to ten years in prison for setting a fire in the Westclox building.   Gallacher was found guilty last month of aggravated arson.  The convicted teen, who  just turned 18, must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence, though he receives credit for time served in the county jail.  Gallacher could have received as much as 30 years.  The charge stemmed from a LaSalle firefighter who was hurt while responding to the blaze minutes before New Year’s Eve.  A younger teen from Peru also admitted to helping Gallacher start the blaze.  He received five years probation and over 200 hours of community service.  The Westclox fire involved 25 fire departments and smoldered for weeks causing disruption to LP High School and businesses located inside the former timekeeper’s walls.   The fire flarred up a few times after it was thought to be extinguished.

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