More felony charges filed in Prophetstown fire

STERLING – Prosecutors have filed three more counts of criminal damage to property against two half-brothers who are accused of setting a July fire that destroyed much of downtown Prophetstown.

The boys, 16 and 12, now face 17 counts of criminal damage to property, one count of residential arson, and one count of arson – all felonies.

Each of the three new counts pertains to a different tenant of 332 Washington St. who lost property during the fire, Whiteside County Assistant State’s Attorney Carol Linkowski said.

On Tuesday, Judge Bill McNeal granted two requests made by the boys’ attorneys – one allowing the 16-year-old to attend youth group meetings with his church, and another so that the 12-year-old may leave his father’s home in Prophetstown to have Thanksgiving at his grandmother’s house.

Police said the fire was sparked July 15 after the two boys, in town for the summer to visit their father, set fire to paper and cardboard in a recycling bin behind Cindy Jean’s restaurant around 2:30 a.m. The blaze then spread to the buildings.

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