17-Year Old Crystal Lakers Arrested for Barn Arsons

A press release from the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department:

Sheriff’s Office Makes Arrests in Barn Fires Investigation

Sheriff Keith Nygren announced today the arrest of two 17 year old males responsible for multiple fires in the rural McHenry County area.

Joseph Gedis and Andrew Wiegand, arrested for torching barns and both from Crystal Lake, appeared on Channel 7 in the Six O’Clock News.

Since May 29, 2012, the Sheriff’s Office has experienced six fires in rural Woodstock, Marengo and Harvard involving hay barns. In addition to the fires in McHenry County, Kane and Boone Counties and Lakewood have also experienced barn fires in their respective jurisdictions.

An anonymous tip from the public resulted in the identification of two suspects.

The two males were interviewed on Friday, August 10, 2012 and admitted to their involvement with the fires along with multiple criminal acts within the City of Crystal Lake.

The fires covered a span of over sixty days and over an estimated one million dollars in property damage.

The two suspects have been charged as adults for

  • arson
  • criminal damage to propert
  • criminal trespass to property

for five fires.

The investigation is continuing and additional charges may be forthcoming.

Along with the Sheriff’s Office,

Barn fire on Harmony Road next to Huntley High School (misidentified in the press release). Photo credit David Moore.

  • Crystal Lake PD
  • McHenry County Conservation Police
  • Huntley PD
  • Algonquin PD
  • Cary PD
  • Crystal Lake Fire
  • Woodstock Fire
  • Algonquin Fire
  • Marengo Fire
  • Huntley Fire
  • ATF,and
  • the Illinois State Fire Marshall

assisted in the investigation.

Following is a list of the fires the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office has linked to the 17 year olds:

  • 13900 Block of Harmony Rd., Marengo (sic) Date of Fire: 06/29/2012 10:36 P.M.
  • 13900 Block of Pleasant Valley Rd., Woodstock Date of Fire: 07/10/2012 10:06 P.M.
  • 11800 Block of Pleasant Valley, Rd., Lakewood Date of Fire: 07/03/2012 9:59 P.M.
  • 2500 Block of River Rd., Marengo Date of Fire: 07/23/2012 11:25 A.M.
  • 9800 Block of Lucas Rd., Crystal Lake Date of Fire: 07/24/2012 9:20 P.M.

Arrested: Charges:
Joseph Gerdes, 17 years old Arson (Class 2)
868 Coventry Criminal Damage to Property (Class 3)
Crystal Lake, IL Criminal Trespass to Property (Class A)

Andrew Wiegand, 17 years old Arson (Class 2)
1472 Bridgedale Rd Criminal Damage to Property (Class 3)
Crystal Lake, IL Criminal Trespass to Property (Class A)

The charges against the above named defendants are merely allegations against him. The above named defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.

= = = = =
The Crystal Lake Police Department adds this information:
“On August 11, 2012, Crystal Lake Police were notified by McHenry County Sheriff’s of two juvenile subjects that were in custody for a series of barn fires surrounding the McHenry County area, including a barn fire on Lucas Road that was within the Crystal Lake City limits.

“Working in conjunction with the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office, Crystal Lake Police were able to establish that the same two subjects were also responsible for setting fire to

  • a couch that was left out for trash removal on the parkway in the 1300 block of Loch Lomond Drive and
  • a mattress set on fire that was also left out on the parkway in the 1400 block of Candlewood Drive.

“Both fires occurred during the evening hours of June 12, 2012.

“Additionally, Crystal Lake Police also were able to link the two subjects to five separate acts of Tampering with a Fire Hydrant (Class B Misdemeanors) on Bedford Drive and Sutherland Drive where five fire hydrants were opened, all within residential neighborhoods. These incidents occurred on June 26, 2012, during the evening hours.

“Crystal Lake Police will review these additional findings with the McHenry County State’s Attorney Office regarding criminal charges.

“Both male juveniles are residents of Crystal Lake.”


17-Year Old Crystal Lakers Arrested for Barn Arsons — 4 Comments

  1. These extremely wicked, brutal, cruel (atrocious) – STUPID – acts not only have a dollar value tied to the actual barns, but impose an unspecifiable hurtful cost to the mental well being and loss of calmness and comfort those barns gave to the people who live near them.

    I am one of them (Pleasant Valley – Woodstock).

    They have ripped our heart and soul out.

    They should be locked up for 50 years and only let out to help as labor to re-build those who may have the good fortune to rebuild. (something – because it will never be possible to regain the antiquity those majestic building posessed.)

    Those kids have / had NO SENSE of GRACE. Shame be placed on them forever.

  2. I posted this on the Crystal Lake facebook page recently because this idiot (Gerdes) was harassing on there and people were defending him saying it “happened 5 years ago, move on.”

    These are serious criminals.

    I feel bad for Randy above because he speaks a true sentiment of what this really is. Lovely people of CL are so forgiving when it is not their property.

    Thank goodness no one was killed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *