Arrest made in Columbia vehicle arsons

James T. Hines

A young Columbia man has been arrested in connection with a string of vehicle arsons in that city earlier this week.

Police said James T. Hines, 18, of Columbia, was taken into custody Thursday evening. He was formally charged Friday with eight felony counts of arson. Hines remains in custody in the Monroe County Jail with bond set at $100,000.

The incidents occurred early Tuesday morning on South Ferkel Street, South Metter Avenue, East Plum Street and East Washington Street east of South Main Street in Columbia, during which unlocked vehicles were entered and fires were ignited inside. For more on the initial reporting of these incidents, click here.

Police added that they believe Hines acted alone and there are no other suspects at large.

The Columbia Police Department thanked all of those who worked “non-stop” on the case this week, including Illinois State Police Crime Scene Services, Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Columbia Volunteer Fire Department and Monroe County State’s Attorney Lucas Liefer.

Police also offered thanks to residents who provided tips that helped in this investigation.

“Thanks to all the citizens who provided surveillance footage, doorbell camera footage, etc., to help with the investigation and lead to the arrest,” the CPD stated in a news release.

Hines still has a previous case pending in Monroe County Circuit Court. He was charged with felony theft of government property following a Nov. 16 incident in Columbia, during which he allegedly stole a speed limit sign.

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