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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Keyword: fire & arson

Italian police have arrested two anti-vaxxers in connection with an arson attack on a COVID-19 vaccination hub, media reported Saturday.

Paolo Pluda, 52, and Nicola Zanardelli, 51 were arrested overnight for suspected terrorism offences, according to the ANSA news agency.

The suspects are accused of an April 3 Molotov cocktail attack on a vaccination center in the northern city of Brescia that damaged one of the center’s two pavilions, the daily Corriere della Sera reported.

Vaccines held in cold storage at the site were saved because the fire did not spread to threaten the unit’s electrical supply.

The breakthrough in the investigation came with the discovery of images of alleged bomb preparation by the two individuals, the paper said.

According to ANSA, both men identified as anti-vaxxers. Shortly ahead of the attack, Pluda had written on Facebook: “If we want to destroy the enemy we must use the same weapon ‘fear’ and their fear is our unity. There are no other solutions,” the agency reported.

Read more: Politico

A Brainerd man has been sentenced to four years in prison and must pay $12 million in restitution for his role in lighting the Minneapolis Third Precinct police headquarters on fire during civil unrest after the death of George Floyd.Last May, Dylan Shakespeare Robinson, 23, trampled over a fence meant to keep protesters out and lit a Molotov cocktail, which another person threw toward the precinct — shortly after the crowd began shouting, "Burn it down, burn it down," according to federal charges.

"On the night of May 28, 2020, Mr. Robinson chose to depart from lawful protest and instead engaged in violence and destruction," said a statement by Acting U.S. Attorney Anders Folk, whose office prosecuted the case. "The arson at the Minneapolis Police Department's Third Precinct put lives at risk and contributed to widespread lawlessness in Minneapolis."Robinson pleaded guilty in December to one count of conspiracy to commit arson. As part of his sentence, he will serve two years of supervised release and must pay $12 million in restitution.

Read more: Minneapolis Star Tribune

A man was arrested Saturday night after an “improvised explosive” was found outside a set of doors to the Terre Haute Police Department.

Curtis Hogan was arrested and preliminarily charges with possession of a destructive device and attempted arson. No additional information about Hogan was immediately released by police.

Police were made aware about 12:40 a.m. Saturday of a fire on the west side of the Terre Haute Police Department, 1211 Wabash Ave. That’s a few blocks east of the Indiana State University campus.

Once the fire was out, authorities found the device was a gas container converted into an explosive with “an accelerant and projectiles,” the police department said in a Facebook post.

Read more: WISH (Indianapolis)

A Cape Girardeau man was charged Monday with a hate crime after a fire destroyed a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints church in the city, officials said.

Christopher Pritchard, 45, was also charged with second-degree arson, burglary and felony stealing, Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Welker said.

The fire broke out Sunday night and quickly engulfed the church. No one was inside and no one was injured. The church is considered a total loss, The Southeast Missourian reported.

The Cape Girardeau County Sheriff’s Office had received a request for an extra patrol on Friday because church officials were having problems with Pritchard, who allegedly had threatened to assault a church bishop and “burn the church down,” according to a probable cause statement.

Read more: AP

A Maine man was charged today in federal court in Springfield, Massachusetts, in connection with setting the Dec. 28, 2020, fire that destroyed the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Presbyterian Church in Springfield.

Dushko Vulchev, 44, of Houlton, was charged by criminal complaint with four counts of damage to religious property involving fire and one count of use of fire to commit a federal felony. Vulchev is currently in state custody and will make an initial appearance in federal court in Springfield at a later date.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Community Presbyterian Church in Springfield has a primarily Black congregation, and the church is named in honor of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. According to court documents, an intentionally set fire caused extensive damage to the church in the early morning hours of Dec. 28, 2020.

Read more: Department of Justice