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September 2021


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Tag: arson

Man Celebrated Pres. Obama’s Election By Burning Down African-American Church

white house photo

white house photo

By Glynnesha Taylor

Not everyone rejoiced the day after President Obama was elected as the first African-American President.

In fact, Massachusetts resident Benjamin Haskell, 23, celebrated by burning down a yet to be completed, predominantly African-American church in Springfield, Mass., on Nov. 5, 2008, the morning after the election, authorities said.

On Wednesday, he pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to burning down the structure of the Macedonia Church of God in Christ that was 75 percent completed, the Justice Department said.

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ATF Offers $5,000 Reward in San Diego Co. Church Fire

arsonBy Allan Lengel

ATF is offering a $5,000 reward for for information leading to the arrest in the January arson fire at the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, a beach community in San Diego County.

Authorities say sometime between 8:00 p.m. on Jan. 24, and 6:30 a.m. on Jan. 25  a fire broke out in the foyer at the church. Damage was estimated at more than $5,000.

ATF said parishioners found graffiti spray painted on two different exterior doors of their church.

ATF Says Fire that Destroyed Little Nashville Opry in Indiana Was Arson

Johnny Cash was one of the artists who played the venue
Johnny Cash was one of the artists who played the venue

By Allan Lengel

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) announced Monday that the fire that destroyed The Little Nashville Opry in Nashville, Ind.  on Sept. 19 was intentionally set.

The Opry, which was not affiliated with the Grand Ole Opry in Tennessee, opened in 1975 and hosted big name country music stars like Johnny Cash, George Strait, the Oak Ridge Boys and Trisha Yearwood.

ATF said in a press release “specific information regarding the fire and investigation will not be released as the investigation into the criminal act is continuing.”

Christopher P. Sadowski, special agent in charge of the ATF Columbus office, said in a statement: “The ATF National Laboratory will analyze the fire debris and evidence to assist in determining the cause of the fire.”

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Long Island Police Consulted FBI Unit Before Arson Arrest

The FBI behavioral unit at Quantico has had its hand in many cases over the  years. Sometimes it has been right on and other times — not even close.  It may be a science, but it’s impossible to be right all the time.



Before they ever made an arrest, Nassau police used the help of a small, highly trained FBI behavioral unit to work up a psychological profile of an arsonist they say started a fire that killed four in Lawrence last month.

Later, they arrested Caleb Lacey, the volunteer firefighter who investigators now say set the blaze to gain glory as a hero.

Police departments nationwide and around the world have used the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit in Quantico, Va. It has helped in other arson investigations as well as serial rape and extortion cases, among others, FBI officials said.

James McNamara, a supervisory special agent in the unit, said 60 percent of cases come from local and state police. Eight agents handle all adult crimes in the United States and abroad, he said. Because the Lawrence probe is ongoing, he would not provide specifics on how his unit helped Nassau police.

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D.C. Man Charged in Historical Minnesota Fire Commits Suicide

A tragedy ends with another tragedy.

By Clarence Williams and Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writers
WASHINGTON –A 64-year-old Northwest Washington man who was charged with causing the largest wildfire in Minnesota in 90 years apparently shot and killed himself yesterday in his back yard.
Stephen G. Posniak, an outdoorsman, retired federal employee and former advisory neighborhood commissioner, died at his home on Windom Place, according to police sources and his lawyer.
The apparent suicide came the day after a federal magistrate judge in Minneapolis denied motions challenging key aspects of the charges filed in the 2007 Ham Lake fire, which burned for days, destroying more than 75,000 acres.
According to the Justice Department, Posniak was charged Oct. 20 in Minneapolis with setting timber afire, leaving a fire unattended and unextinguished, and giving false information to United States Forest Service officers. A trial was to begin next month.
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ATF Says Accelerant Was Poured Around Sarah Palin’s Church

Sarah Palin/ official photo

Sarah Palin/ official photo

It may be that this country is not quite ready to give up on the the great political race of 08. Or maybe it’s just a crazy arsonist?

By The Associated Press
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — An accelerant was poured around the exterior of Gov. Sarah Palin’s church before fire heavily damaged the building, federal investigators said Monday. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said the accelerant was poured at several locations around the church, including entrances.
Lab tests will determine the type of substance involved. Possibilities include gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel or even lamp oil, Agent Nick Starcevic said.
The blaze was set Friday night at the main entrance of the Wasilla Bible Church while a small group, including two children, were inside. No one was injured. Fire authorities were called to the scene at 9:40 p.m., unusually early for many arson fires, Starcevic said.
“It’s kind of odd to do in the evening hours,” he said. “I can tell you that most of the arson fires I’ve worked on are late nighttime, usually when no one is there.”
Palin, the former Republican vice presidential candidate, was not at the church at the time of the fire but visited Saturday. Her spokesman, Bill McAllister, said Monday that Palin knew about the accelerants Saturday morning before a statement she authorized was released that day.
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