Woodfield Drive-Thru ‘Terrorist’ Charged with Arson for Separate Palatine Truck Fire Incident at One Renaissance Place the Same Month

Javier Garcia, the Palatine driver charged with Class X felony terrorism after he crashed his SUV through the Sears store doors at Woodfield and drove into the common area of the mall on Friday September 20, 2019, has been also charged with arson connected to a truck fire at One Renaissance Place in Palatine on Sunday September 8, 2019.

A comparison of the individual in the video from a Palatine store where lighter fluid was purchased, and in the video from the September 20, 2019 incident at Woodfield Mall “revealed him to be the same person,” according to Palatine Police Department.

Investigators tracking an identification number on a container of lighter fluid found near the burned truck in a rear parking lot at One Renaissance Place, were able to determine the retail store where the lighter fluid was sold, review video of the suspect at the store, and connect the suspect’s image to Javier Garcia, 23, who was already being held without bail at the Cook County jail for the Woodfield crime.

The investigation determined the fire incident to be a case of arson. Palatine Police investigators were able to obtain photos of a suspect from nearby video surveillance cameras (see below). The suspect was described as a male/Hispanic, approximately 25-30 years of age, 5’8“ to 5’10” tall, with a medium to heavy build, and wearing a black jacket and black pants.

Arson suspect Palatine
Arson suspect Palatine.
Arson suspect Palatine
Arson suspect Palatine.

Palatine police received a report about 1:55 p.m. Sunday September 8, 2019 of a fire in a truck located in a rear parking lot of an apartment complex at One Renaissance Place, Palatine. Witnesses said they saw “a male Hispanic running from the scene. Police determined a T-shirt soaked in an accelerant had been stuffed into the truck’s gas tank and ignited.

The investigation is ongoing as Palatine police investigators actively work the case. Anyone who has information is urged to contact the Palatine Police Department at 847-359-9000 or Palatine/Inverness Crime Stoppers at 847-590-7867.

Javier Garcia pleaded not guilty to arson charges Monday, December 16, 2019 in Rolling Meadows.

No one was injured in either Palatine truck fire incident or the Woodfield terror incident. After the Woodfield incident, Garcia was admitted to Amita Health Behavioral Medicine Institute for several days. He was then transferred to Cook County jail.

Javier Garcia’s attorney Frank Avila says his client has a mental illness and might have other cognitive issues. Avila also said his client is a U.S. citizen who has no religious or political motives.

Javier Garcia, Woodfield Mall vehicle ramming suspect charged with Class X felony terrorism
Javier Garcia, Woodfield Mall vehicle ramming suspect charged with Class X felony terrorism.

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Woodfield Mall terror vehicle ramming scene from outside the mall following the incident in Schaumburg, Illinois.