A 23-year-old man who fulfilled a "bucket list" item by setting a van on fire in March in Elgin was sentenced to three years in prison this week after pleading guilty to arson.
Alfredo Leynes-Valdes, whom court records list as homeless but from the Elgin area, was charged with felony arson after police found a van and SUV on fire on the 300 block of Brook Street, according to police and Kane County court records.
Police determined the fire in the van was intentionally set and that it spread to a nearby 2006 Chevy TrailBlazer. As crews were tending to the fire, authorities saw an intoxicated Leynes-Valdes nearby, who reeked of fire and smoke and seemed "enthralled" while watching the blaze, police said.
Leynes-Valdes later admitted that watching the van burn was on his "bucket list" and that he stuffed papers into the van's gas tank and set them on fire, police said.
He also was charged with burglarizing pills from vehicles along Brooks Street and obstructing identification by giving a fake name when first questioned, court records say.
Leynes-Valdes faced a sentence of up to seven years in prison on the arson charge. He received the minimum sentence in his plea agreement, which was accepted by Judge D.J. Tegeler, in part because Leynes-Valdes did not have a previous criminal record. Prosecutors dropped the other, less severe charges as part of a plea agreement Wednesday.
He also was ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution, and after his prison sentence is complete, he will be deported because he is not in the country legally, records show.