(STL.News) – Loren Reed, 26, of Page, Arizona, was arrested on Tuesday, June 2, and charged in a complaint with a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 844(e) for using the internet and telephone to willfully threaten to unlawfully damage or destroy a building by fire. Reed appeared on the charges today before United States Magistrate Judge Camille Bibles of the District of Arizona.
According to the complaint:
On May 30, a concerned citizen called the Page Police Department and reported that Loren Reed had created a private Facebook chat group. In the chat, Reed was trying to convince people to join a meet up at the Page Courthouse and participate in a riot. Page Police Department officers then began monitoring the chat group in response to this report.
Between May 30 and June 2, Reed sent numerous messages in the chat group related to burning government buildings, including the Page Magistrate Courthouse and Page Police Department office. Reed suggested June 2 at 9:00pm 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.
Reed was arrested on June 2, at approximately 7:00 p.m. on the charge outlined in the complaint.
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. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Todd Allison and David Pimsner, District of Arizona, Phoenix.