Man charged with pair of Saugatuck Township arson waives preliminary hearing

By: 
Daniel Pepper

The case against an Illinois man accused of two Saugatuck Township arsons will continue in Allegan County Circuit Court.

Rolf Dieter Schmidt, 67, of Seneca, Ill., waived his right to a preliminary hearing in Allegan County District Court and was bound over for further proceedings, according to court records.

Police and prosecutors would have had to show a judge they had enough evidence the crimes occurred and Schmidt committed them.

Schmidt was charged in one case with one count of second degree arson and one count of malicious destruction of property $1,000 to $20,000. In the second case, he was charged with one count of third degree arson and two counts of aggravated stalking. The charges stem from a pair of fires set around Memorial Day weekend in 2016 on Lakeshore Drive in Saugatuck Township.

One was at a barn on a property and the second at home next door.

Schmidt was arrested in November and charged with the crimes after being brought to Michigan from Illinois.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and is free on bond.

Contact Dan Pepper at dpepper@allegannews.com or at (269) 673-5534.

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