CHAMPAIGN, Ill., (WCIA) — We are learning new information all in connection to a Wednesday morning crime spree in Champaign.
We now know Tyler Faulkner, a 33-year-old, is connected to it. It involves his home, his father’s restaurant and more.
The first crime scene was jarring with police in front of the Original Pancake House on Springfield Avenue. Authorities said Faulkner broke in, stole money and tried setting the kitchen on fire.
Faulkner’s dad, Eric, is the owner of the restaurant. He found damage from a break-in around 4:30 in the morning. The Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Office said an inventory revealed $850 in cash was gone and surveillance video was deleted.
Then, police found grease around the kitchen with stoves turned on and rags stuffed in stove burners.
The State’s Attorney’s Office said Eric Faulkner told police his son worked at O-Hop until last January.
Minutes after that discovery, neighbors started to see smoke coming from the home Faulkner was living in on South Duncan.
“I saw the vehicles all down here by our house. Looked out the door, saw the smoke coming from it. I couldn’t see the fire, but I saw smoke,” Michael Myers, a neighbor, said.
Firefighters saw Faulkner outside of the house around 4:45 a.m. when it was in flames. They said a dog trained for sniffing substances found accelerants in two places within the rubble. Investigators also found spilled gas on the back porch.
Then, another discovery two hours after that at 6:43 a.m.
U of I Police responded to a burglary at nuEra, the cannabis store at First and Green. An officer saw Faulkner hitting a store window with a shovel.
Surveillance video shows him inside the building. When asked to stop, he did, but then drove away in a yellow Camaro. The same one his neighbor saw him in all the time.
A Champaign officer later saw that car in a northern part of town. After refusing to pull over, Faulkner eventually parked, went into a hotel and was arrested in the lobby.
Faulkner is accused of residential arson, burglary and criminal property damage. He’s being held on a $500,000 bond.