A young man was arrested on Tuesday for threatening to burn down the Page, Arizona Courthouse.
Loren Reed, 26, of Page, Arizonawas arrested on Tuesday and charged with using the internet and telephone to threaten to burn down the Page Courthouse and start a riot.
Thanks to a concerned citizen who called the Page Police Department and reported Reed had created a private Facebook chat group, Page was quickly put under surveillance. In the chat, Reed was allegedly trying to convince people to join a meet up at the courthouse and participate in a riot. Page Police Department officers then began monitoring the chat group.
The federal complaint, provided to me by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Todd Allison and David Pimsner, from the Phoenix office, says between May 30 and June 2, Reed sent numerous messages in the chat group related to burning government buildings, including the courthouse and the Page Police Department office. Reed suggested June 2 at 9:00 p.m. as the date and time for carrying out the plan. Reed encouraged others in the chat group to bring gas and other flammables. He also discussed the use of Molotov cocktails.
But the guys who met him there carried badges!
A conviction for using the internet and telephone to willfully threaten to unlawfully damage or destroy a building by fire carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both.
A criminal complaint is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The charges resulted from an investigation by the Page Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.