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Second man arrested in Lake County Jail fire; charges dropped against original suspect

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CHICAGO (CBS) -- Authorities in northwest Indiana have dropped charges against a man arrested last week for setting a small fire at the Lake County Jail, after identifying and charging a new suspect in the case.

The Lake County Sheriff's office confirmed they have had charges dropped against 26-year-old Ryan Andrews, after further investigation determined he was no longer a suspect.

Instead, 40-year-old Terrance Craig, of Gary, is now in custody, charged with two counts of arson and one count of intimidation, according to Indiana court records. He was booked into the jail on Monday.

The Lake County Sheriff's office said detectives considered two persons of interest in the case from the start, and obtained an arrest warrant for Andrews after witnesses identified him in a photo lineup as the person who walking into the lobby of the Lake County Jail shortly before noon on June 5, carrying a jug containing an accelerant, before dousing the lobby with he liquid, setting it on fire, and running out, and then fleeing in a blue SUV.

"Andrews and Craig shared some similar physical characteristics and both had previous contact with police for disruptive incidents. Terrance Craig surfaced as a potential suspect based on information from tips. There was an initial lineup including Craig's photo, but witnesses could not identify him," Sheriff Oscar Martinez said in a news release. "This could be because in the booking photo we had of Craig at the time, his face was fuller than it appears now.  Craig evidently lost weight since that booking photo was taken, which changed his appearance drastically."

A couple days after Andrews was arrested in Tinley Park, the sheriff's office said they "received additional intelligence on Terrance Craig" and determined Andrews was no longer a suspect.

"I believe the process worked as it should in this case, and I am proud of the work of our detectives in establishing Terrance Craig as the new primary suspect in this case. They continue to follow up on leads, which is something we do with every case.  No law enforcement agency wants to arrest the wrong person for a crime; but it's part of the normal investigative process that we look for additional information and try to verify that information," Martinez said. "The ability to analyze new details, scrutinize it and explore new avenues of investigation is simply part of what we do as police officers.  It's because our officers exercised due diligence in their investigation that we were able to have charges against the first suspect dropped.  It shows that we continue working on leads regardless of who we may have in custody."

Craig is being held on $50,000 bail. Information on his next court date was not immediately available.

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