A retired Chicago cop named James R. Povolo was slapped with felony arson charges and destruction of property for burning a homeless man’s tent and all of his belongings earlier this year.
Everything Scott Huber had left was all he’d managed to keep during his version of a peaceful political protest after the city of Naperville in Illinois evicted him from his home and electronics business.
The fire torched his tent and almost all of his property, including 20-years of documents and records stored on computer discs he’d saved from his battle with the city of Naperville, a Chicago suburb.
Apparently, the thin blue line doesn’t apply if you’re a retired cop.
Naperville police arrested Povolo, 72, a retired sergeant from the Chicago Police Department’s 18th District who spent more than 35 years on the force.
The incident occurred on July 18, but at first, Chicago police would not confirm if Povolo had been employed with the department.
However, a Freedom of Information Act filed by the Chicago Tribune reveal Povolo had been employed as a law enforcement officer.
Povolo surrendered less than two weeks after setting Huber’s encampment ablaze.
The retired sergeant’s motive is unknown, however, police say he knew Huber would be away from the tent at the time and used a cigarette to start the fire.
About 50 Naperville citizens rallied around Huber, who is known as a local legend among many long-time residents.
Naperville Police Chief Robert Marshall and former city council representative Robert Fiesler got in on the action as well, setting up a Go Fund Me page to help Huber rebuild.
“I live near where Huber is camping out. Poor guy just can’t catch a break, no matter where he moves,” a local resident writes on Reddit.
According to the Tribune, Povolo was featured in a 1975 edition of the now defunct Chicago Police Star, Chicago PD’s official publication at the time.
The article stated Povolo won an “Award of Valor (for) an outstanding act of heroism, personal courage and devotion to duty,” according to the Tribune, although no further details were given.
The terms of Povolo’s bond were modified in November so he’s able to travel to Key Colony Beach in Florida from his Naperville home because it was just too cold for him in Illinois.
“Defendant [Povolo], because of injuries sustained while employed ‘on the job’ as a police officer for the City of Chicago, has artificial knees, and does not well tolerate cold weather,” Charle’s Povolo’s Charles Dobra, who has since left the case, wrote in the petition to modify the conditions of his release.
Under the terms of Povolo’s original bond, he could lot leave the state without approval from presiding Judge Liam C. Brennan, who approved the changes.
Judge Brennan will oversee the next court hearing on March 1.
Despite video evidence, Povolo has pleaded ‘not guilty.’