A man is being held on a $1.2 million bond after prosecutors charged him in an arson fire in Lake Forest, which occurred while he was out on bond in connection with the Fort Sheridan Beach homicide.
Nicholas M. Caban, 20, of the 3400 block of Dato Avenue in Highland Park, was remanded to the Lake County Jail Monday morning.
Caban appeared in bond court for a hearing on a motion to increase bond, which was filed by the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Caban and Jacob Firestone, 18, of Highland Park, were involved in a “violent confrontation” with Matthew Ascaridis, 45, of Highland Park, on September 17, according to the Lake County Major Crime Task Force.
The incident occurred on Fort Sheridan Beach near Highland Park after Ascaridis confronted Caban and Firestone for being loud on the beach early in the morning.
The physical altercation led to Ascaridis’ death. The coroner said he died from “multiple injuries.”
Caban and Firestone were also injured in the incident and treated at a hospital.
Officers found a loaded Glock 9mm handgun with a defaced serial number inside Caban’s bedroom. He was charged with one count of unlawful possession of a firearm without a serial number, a Class 3 felony.
Firestone was charged with two counts of felony obstructing justice for allegedly removing a bloody wheelbarrow from the beach during the investigation.
Caban was released from the Lake County Jail last month after posting 10% of a $100,000 bond.
While out on bond, Caban was arrested on October 7 after being identified as an arson suspect, according to Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Ben Dillon, who is the Chief of the Violent Crimes Unit at the state’s attorney’s office.
The fire department responded around 5:45 p.m. that day to Lou’s Garage, 1260 Skokie Highway in Lake Forest, for a report of a trailer on fire.
Witnesses on the scene told officers that a male subject was seen leaving the trailer and going southbound on the bike path, according to a police incident report.
Officers at the scene obtained a description of the arson suspect and it was broadcasted to area police departments.
A Highland Park police officer located the suspect and identified him as Caban.
Officers noted the smell of alcohol on Caban’s breath and reported that he was demonstrating signs of alcohol impairment, according to the report.
Caban was found in possession of a knife, a half-empty Skol vodka bottle and two cigarette lights.
Officers interviewed Caban about the arson incident but he refused to speak about it.
The incident report also said officers learned that Caban was out on bond stemming from the previous weapons charge in the Fort Sheridan Beach incident.
During the arson investigation in Lake Forest, officers learned that Caban’s bond conditions barred him from consuming alcohol and possessing weapons.
Lake Forest police spoke with the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office to screen charges for a bond violation since Caban was in possession of a weapon and had consumed alcohol.
Officers were advised that the Lake County States Attorney’s Office would not approve the bond violation, the report said.
Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart told Lake and McHenry County Scanner that his office did not approve the violation of bail bond charge because it did not qualify under Illinois statute.
It would only meet statute qualifications under limited circumstances, the state’s attorney’s office said. Caban could be charged with violation of bail bond if he was found in possession of a firearm or if the victim in the case he was out on bond for involved a family or household member.
Caban was initially charged with minor possession of alcohol following the Lake Forest arrest. He was processed and released on a $120 bond.
Authorities concluded the arson investigation over the weekend.
The state’s attorney’s office approved arson charges Sunday and they were filed Monday.
During Monday morning’s bond hearing before the arson charges were filed, Lake County Judge Theodore Potkonjak doubled Caban’s bond to $200,000 and added further restrictions should he post bond.
Caban’s attorney said his client is a patient at the Chicago Behavioral Hospital.
Potkonjak warned Caban to not “do anything stupid” as he was leaving the courtroom.
Later Monday afternoon, the Lake Forest Police Department served Caban with the arrest warrant for arson, which carried a $1 million bond.
“The State’s Attorney’s office worked closely with the Lake Forest Police Department over several days to complete the investigation, and we needed to incorporate the work of the fire department and the statements of an eyewitness after the incident. I want to thank everyone involved in building a rock-solid arson case against this offender,” Rinehart said.
Caban remains held at the Lake County Jail on a combined $1.2 million bond. He would need to post $110,000 cash in order to be released due to him receiving credit for $10,000 already posted previously.
He is scheduled to appear in bond court Tuesday morning where prosecutors could ask the judge to increase bond further.