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Boys make court appearance

STERLING – The two boys accused of setting a fire that took out a block of Prophetstown’s historic business district appeared Tuesday in Whiteside County Court.

The 12-year-old, represented by Morrison attorney Colleen Buckwalter, was there to have his charges formally read.

His 16-year-old half brother, whose attorney is Mark Holldorf of Sterling, was there for a pretrial hearing that was rescheduled.

Each is charged with residential arson, arson, and criminal damage to property exceeding $100,000. They are accused of setting fire to paper and cardboard in a recycling bin behind Cindy Jean’s Restaurant on July 15. The ensuing blaze destroyed eight buildings and damaged two others.

Both are under house arrest in Prophetstown, the younger boy, who is from New York, with his father and stepmother, the older boy, from Wisconsin, with his paternal grandfather.

Because of his age, the 12-year-old cannot be committed to the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice. If found guilty, he could be placed on probation and spend up to 30 days in a juvenile detention center, like the Mary Davis Home in Galesburg, where he stayed with his half brother before being placed under home monitoring.

Associate Judge William McNeal set their next appearance for Aug. 20.

Sauk Valley Media is not identifying the boys because they are charged as juveniles.

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