Two men who are thought to be homeless have been placed under arrest for deliberately causing the fire that devastated the former Pinball Pete’s building on Oct. 24, according to Sgt. Brian Jatczak of the Ann Arbor Police Department.
The two suspects, 21-year-old Justin Arens and 18-year-old Ian MacKenzie, have been charged with arson of personal property, Jatczak said.
“The detectives that handled the case were able to get some evidence from the scene and talked to different (people) that handled that area,” Jatczak said. “We were able to come up with several different suspects, and based on the interviews were able to identify these suspects.”
The suspects’ motives in the case are yet to be determined, according to Jatczak.
The building, located at 1215 South University, had been vacant for 12 years. The edifice caught fire just before 11 p.m. on Oct. 24 and was aflame for about an hour before firefighters arrived at the scene.
The fire, which caused the building’s roof to collapse, also caused some smoke and water damage to the neighboring apartment building, University Towers, and dislocated approximately 600 University students for several hours that night.
Jatczak told the Daily that Arens was arraigned on Nov. 29 after being spotted in town by patrol officers.
“He was seen walking around downtown,” Jatczak said. “He was interviewed, and it was determined at that point that there was enough information to arrest him on the arson charge.”
He is now being held on a $100,000 bond at the Washtenaw County Jail, Jatczak said.
Arens is set to appear in court on Dec. 9 at 1 p.m., according to Jatczak.
MacKenzie, who Jatczak said turned himself into the AAPD, will be arraigned either today or tomorrow. His preliminary exam date has yet to be determined.
The two suspects are thought to be homeless, Jatczak said.
“I don’t know where they stay, but we don’t have a house address for them,” he said.
Neither suspect has committed an arson-related crime before, Jatczak said, although he was unsure of their overall criminal histories.