Chicago Police Officer Gets Probation, Pays Restitution in Tent-Burning Case

The retired police officer accused of setting a well-known Naperville squatter’s tent on fire has pleaded guilty to criminal damage to property.

James Povolo, 73, has been sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay restitution after setting Scott Huber’s tent on fire in July of 2016.

It’s part of a plea deal the retired Chicago police officer recently took in a DuPage County Courtroom.

In court Povolo paid Huber $5,000 to reimburse him for damage to his tent and other property.

Povolo also must pay $800 to the DuPage county water commission for fire damage to a water meter.

Huber has been living in the roadside tent for 16 years in protest of city government.

He spoke out in court saying Povolo “desecrated a temple, a shrine to American freedom.”

Huber said the fire destroyed 10 years of records regarding his protest and said Povolo is part of a “nefarious club” of public officials who he says oppress poor people like him.

Povolo declined to comment on the decision, but his attorney Rick Kayne said Povolo “just snapped” when he lit the tent on fire with a flare from the trunk of his car.

Kayne said Povolo was in a “post-stress situation” after being involved in several live shootings during his career.

Kayne said Povolo made sure no one was in the tent before he started the fire, and he turned himself in to Naperville police several days later.

Povolo’s probation is part of the DuPage Second Chance Program, meaning his conviction could be vacated if he completes the probation requirements.

He was also ordered to serve five days in the Sheriff’s Alternative Work Program and to have no future contact with Huber.