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Tag: arson

FBI Lab Lost Hair Sample in Arson Case Against New Jersey Police Officer

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Prosecutors may have a tougher time proving their case against a New Jersey police officer accused of setting a captain’s front porch ablaze because the FBI lab lost a critical hair sample collected at the scene, NJ.com reports.

Edison Police Officer Michael Dotro was charged with aggravated arson and five counts of attempted murder for allegedly setting the fire at the home of Capt. Mark Anderko.

“Taken together, the lost hair and the sample that excluded Dotro could make it more difficult for the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office to prove the officer started the fire,” NJ.com wrote.

Prosecutors have said Dotro, a 14-year veteran with a long disciplinary history, lied about his whereabouts during the fire.

“We don’t think there’s sufficient evidence to tie Mr. Dotro to the arson, and it is our belief that because of the lack of evidence, they’ve brought additional indictments which would not normally be prosecuted but for the fact it is the Edison Police Department and Mr. Dotro,” Dotro’s lawyer, Robert Norton, said.

Prosecutors declined to comment.

 

 

ATF Searches for Clues to What Sparked Mansion Blaze That Killed 6

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The ATF is looking for clues to determine what caused a mammoth fire that gutted an Annapolis mansion and is believed to have killed six people, including four children, on Monday.

The Washington Post reports that two more bodies were found in the wreckage Thursday.

The mother, Stacey Boone, posted on Facebook on Thursday: “I never knew that I could hurt this badly. It’s unreal. All one big nightmare that I can’t wake up from.”

As another day passed since the fire, investigators still had no idea what caused the fire, said Anne Arundel Fire Capt. Russell Davies Jr.

“Until we make a determination one way or another, it’s going to stay a criminal investigation,” Davies said.

Also on Thursday, the ATF began to deploy dogs to smell for explosives.

Other Stories of Interest


ATF Gets Tips, Surveillance Videos in Rash of Arson Fires in Ferguson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The ATF may be closer to solving some of the fires that were set in Ferguson on the night of the grand jury decision, CBS St. Louis reports.

With a reward of $10,000 being offered for information leading to the arrest of an arsonist, the ATF has been fielding tips and has received surveillance videos.

“And all of that is very beneficial,” says John Ham, spokesman with ATF.

“Even if it’s just word of mouth, that somebody has started one of these fires, or was associated with one of these fires in any way, that’s information that we would be interested in having,” he says.

The ATF is investigating the more than 20 fires set that night.

Stories of Other Interest


 

 

ATF Investigates Intentionally Set Church Fire in Ferguson Where Brown’s Dad Attended

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The ATF is investigating an intentionally set fire at a church where Michael Brown’s father regularly attended in Ferguson, Mo., the St Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

The Flood Christian Church was among dozens of buildings that were torched following the grand jury’s decision not to indict the white police officer who shot and killed a black teenager, Brown.

It’s unclear who started the fire, but the senior pastor, Carlton Lee, said he’d received more than 80 death threats because of his connection with Brown and the protests. He said his dog was poisoned and someone threatened to burn down his church.

The ATF said it’s investigating more than a dozen fires related to Ferguson.

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FBI: 10 Union Members Accused of Resorting to Violence Targeting Contractors with Non-union Laborers

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Ten union members in Philadelphia are accused of starting fires, sabotaging construction sites and threatening violence when companies used non-union laborers.

The Blaze.com reports that federal agents arrested 10 members of Ironworkers Local 401 and charged them with participating in a “a conspiracy to commit criminal acts of extortion, arson, destruction of property, and assault.”

“While unions have the right to legally advocate on behalf of their members, my office will not tolerate the conduct of those who use violence to further union goals,” said United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. “Union officials and members who commit arson, destroy property, use threats of physical harm, and engage in other acts of violence to extort victims on behalf of their union need to be criminally prosecuted.”

The FBI says the defendants created a “goon” squad to “commit assaults, arsons, and destruction of property.”

 

FBI: Man Accused of Burning Chinese Consulate Says He Was Hearing Voices

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Fears of terrorism initially spread after someone intentionally set fire to the Chinese consulate in San Francisco last week.

But CBS SF reports that the suspect, 39-year-old Yan Feng, may have been suffering from mental health problems after he told FBI agents that he was hearing voices in Chinese.

Feng was charged Monday with two counts of arson and willfully damaging property belonging to a foreign government.

According to FBI agent Michel Eldridge, the suspect “stated in substance that he targeted the Chinese consulate because all the voices he had been hearing were in Chinese and the Chinese consulate had to have been involved.”

ATF Joins Investigation of Mammoth Fire at Apartment Building Site in Colorado

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal agents are joining an investigation into a suspicious Colorado fire over the weekend that was so hot that flattened the apartment building and melted cars parked across the street, the Denver Post reports.

The 11 p.m. Saturday fire broke out in an apartment building that is under construction in Glendale, which is surrounded by Denver.

“We don’t know if it is arson,” Denver Fire Department Division Chief Joseph Gonzales said, “but we start every investigation to eliminate arson as a cause.”

No one was injured in the three-alarm fire, which caused an estimated $12 million in damage.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

ATF Gets Involved in Protecting World-Renowned Open-Air Art Exhibit in Detriot

photo by Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — The ATF is protecting art in Detroit.

Arsonists struck the world-renowned open-air exhibit – the Heidelberg Project – at least seven times since May 2, burning down entire homes that are used as installations.

The ATF on Thursday announced it was offering a $5,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible.

“Arsons can have a devastating effect on the community, our chief concern is for families in the surrounding homes and for the lives of the firefighters who respond to these fires,” Daryl McCrary, acting ATF special agent in charge, said in a press release.