Man charged with driving through Woodfield Mall now indicted in unrelated arson case

Javier Garcia | Schaumburg police arrest photo

 A 23-year-old man charged with terrorism after allegedly plowing an SUV through the Woodfield Mall now faces unrelated charges of lighting a truck on fire more than a week earlier in Palatine.

Javier Garcia pleaded not guilty Monday to a felony count each of arson and criminal damage to property, according to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

The charges relate to a Sept. 8 truck fire in the parking lot of a Palatine apartment complex, Palatine Cmdr. Dave Weeks said in an email.

Firefighters responded to a truck fire about 1:55 p.m. at 1 Renaissance Pl. and found a T-shirt soaked in gasoline was stuffed into the truck’s gas tank, Weeks said. Police located surveillance video of a man buying the lighter fluid found at the scene.

Nearly two weeks later on Sept. 20, Garcia allegedly crashed an SUV through a door of Schaumburg’s Woodfield Mall and struck several columns, but didn’t strike anyone, prosecutors said. Garcia was detained by two off-duty officers and later charged with terrorism.

After that high-profile case, Palatine police identified Garcia as the same man in the arson incident and charged him, Weeks said.

During a hearing for the state terrorism charges, Garcia’s attorney noted that Garcia was admitted to a psychiatric hospital for a week after being arrested at the mall, adding that his client takes psychiatric medications and is being treated for bipolar disorder and paranoid schizophrenia.

He is due in court again Jan. 27.