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Cops: Man started fire that closed 2 suburban schools

Glenview police charged a Niles man with criminal property damage and disorderly conduct in connection with a small fire Wednesday morning at NorthShore Glenbrook Hospital.

Leonard Reinebach, 20, of the 8200 block of North Newland Avenue, was arrested before 11:30 a.m. at his home, said Glenview Dpty. Police Chief Philip Perlini. Both charges are misdemeanors.

Staff at the hospital, at 2100 Pfingsten Road, spotted a fire in a remote parking lot on the west side of the campus. They extinguished the fire and called authorities, Perlini said.

Police and investigators from the Cook County Sheriff’s Bomb Squad arrived to find a small metal container with burned personal items, Perlini said.

Authorities initially suspected a incendiary device caused the fire, which led to a decision to close nearby Winkleman Elementary School and Glenbrook South High School as a precautionary measure. The hospital also temporarily halted at elective medical procedures, according to a statement this morning from the hospital. Operations have since resumed.

Investigators found no evidence of an explosion, according to police. But Perlini said an accelerant was used to start the fire.

“Given the information we had at the time, we had to react to that information,” Perlini said.

The burned items led police to Reinebach, Perlini said.

“He did state his intention was not to hurt anybody and did it in a secure area,” Perlini said. “He was cooperative.”

Authorities searched the area and found no other suspicious materials, police said.

Reinebach has no known connection to the nearby schools, Perlini said.

He was released after posting 10 percent of a $1,000 bond. His next court date at the Skokie Court House is April 13.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun