Bail set at $150,000 in Elgin Tower arson case

Bail was set at $150,000 Wednesday for a homeless man accused of setting a May 11 fire at the Elgin Tower Building, authorities said.

Tommy W. McBurney, 58, has been charged with felony arson causing damage in excess of $150, a crime punishable by three to seven years in prison if convicted, according to court records. Probation also is an option.

Kane County First Assistant State's Attorney Jody Gleason said McBurney's bail was set Wednesday in Elgin and he is next due in court June 11 before Judge Karen Simpson.

McBurney must post $15,000 to be released while the charges are pending.

Police and fire crews were called to the Tower Building, 100 E. Chicago St., at 7:48 p.m. May 11 and found the front door glass broken out and a fire in an open elevator car.

The building was unoccupied at the time.

Elgin police reviewed video surveillance and held several interviews and determined the fire was started in a garbage can in the elevator car, causing $5,000 damage.

The city condemned the 1929 building after the fire, forcing its three remaining tenants to move out.

According to court records, McBurney's only previous offenses in Kane County were for possession of alcohol in a public park in Elgin Nov. 11 and 15, 2010. McBurney pleaded guilty to the local ordinance charges and was fined $373, an amount he failed to pay, records show.

He also was charged with DUI in January 1995 in Bartlett, records show. He also was cited for no insurance and open alcohol in his vehicle.

After nine days in jail. McBurney pleaded guilty but failed to complete court supervision, records show.

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