ALTON - A man from Alton has been charged with arson, retail theft, and possession of methamphetamine after allegedly stealing food from Schnucks and setting fire to an Alton residence on the same day.

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Rico Brown, 35, of Alton, was charged with arson, unlawful possession of methamphetamine, and his second or subsequent offense of retail theft under $300.

On April 23, 2024, Brown allegedly caused damage “by means of fire” to a residential property in the 200 block of Harriett St. belonging to the City of Alton. He was additionally charged with possession of less than five grams of methamphetamine and stealing food items from the Schnucks at 2811 Homer M. Adams Parkway in Alton.

According to a petition filed to deny Brown’s pretrial release, both the retail theft and arson were committed on the same day before Brown was identified in surveillance footage and eventually taken into custody.

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“Defendant was identified as the suspect in a retail theft at Schnucks. He fled the scene before police arrived,” the petition states. “Later that same day, officers were called to a residential structure fire in an abandoned building, owned by the City of Alton. Officers found that a pile of debris was set ablaze in the middle of the living room of the residence, damaging the floor and causing smoke damage.

“Video surveillance showed a suspect leaving as the building began to emit smoke. Suspect was identifiable as Rico Brown, based on the earlier incident. He was located approximately 3 miles away, still wearing the same clothing. He was found in possession of methamphetamine.”

The petition adds that when Brown was asked about the fire in an interview, “he became angry, threatening to ‘bring this place down,’ referencing the police station.”

Brown had previously been convicted of retail theft on April 3, 2024 in Madison County. The Alton Police Department presented the latest case against Brown, in which he faces a Class 2 felony for arson, a Class 3 felony for the meth charge, and a Class 4 felony for retail theft.

Court documents indicate Brown was remanded to be held in jail until his initial appearance in court.

The issuance of charges is based solely upon probable cause and is not an indication of guilt. All subjects charged with criminal offenses are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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