A 32-year-old Cicero man has been arrested in connection with the arson of a South Side Walgreens pharmacy during widespread unrest in Chicago last summer.
Federal authorities on Tuesday announced that Jose Valdovinos had been arrested earlier this week after a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging him with maliciously damaging and destroying a building in June 2020.
“Anyone committing crimes during the course of civil unrest should know that federal law enforcement will use every available tool to hold them accountable,” U.S. Attorney John Lausch said in a statement. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to work with ATF, CPD, and our other federal, state, and local partners to apprehend and charge arsonists and others engaging in violent crime.”
The fire occurred at around 1 a.m. on June 1, 2020 inside a Walgreens located at 4000 W. 59th St., in the West Lawn neighborhood.
The Chicago Police Department posted a compilation video of surveillance footage of the incident last year in an attempt to identify those responsible. In it, three men all dressed in black can be seen entering the Walgreens through a back door, walking behind counters and collecting bags filled with store items.
At one point, one of the men can be seen walking around a corner of a prescription refill area, and the orange glow of a fire can be seen behind him. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, federal authorities believe this man is Valdovinos.
The arson occurred just as protests, looting and unrest broke out in Chicago following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
If convicted, Valdovinos faces a minimum sentence of five years and up to 20 years in federal prison. He is due in court Wednesday afternoon for a detention hearing.
“ATF Special Agents will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to follow every lead related to destructive behavior during civil unrest,” Kristen de Tineo, special agent-in-charge of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives in Chicago, said in a statement. “I appreciate the commitment from our colleagues and the U.S. Attorney in charging this case.”