A California man was sentenced to five years in prison on Monday for a 2020 fire at the office of a Republican group.
On May 24, amid the protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the East Valley Republican Women Federated office in La Quinta, California, was firebombed.
Carlos Espriu, 24, of Palm Desert, who had been held by federal authorities since his September arrest, was sentenced by United States District Judge Percy Anderson.
Anderson ordered Espriu to pay $5,426 in restitution, according to a Justice Department news release.
Espriu pleaded guilty on March 15 to one count of attempted arson.
A Palm Desert man has been arrested & is facing charges for an #arson at the East Valley Republican Women Federated building in La Quinta. Carlos Espriu was arrested in Indio last night & our office filed charges today. More info: https://t.co/8wZIjsZaTI#rivconow #wearerivcoda pic.twitter.com/7mWx4Tqk2z
— Riverside County DA’s Office (@RivCoDA) September 10, 2020
Last year, the Justice Department said in the criminal complaint against Espriu that just after 1:15 a.m. on May 31, a masked Espriu allegedly used a metal baseball bat to break windows at the office.
Authorities said, “he then lighted an improvised incendiary device constructed of three bottles that he tossed through the windows.”
Surveillance video showed Espriu returning to the group’s offices, where he smashed more windows, and then reached inside to retrieve the Molotov cocktails.
He then left with the devices, according to the complaint.
Espriu returned to the office about 30 seconds later, according to the complaint. He did not wear a mask this time and threw the set of bottles into the facility. A fire started immediately.
Authorities later identified Espriu based on the surveillance video.
During their investigation of Espriu, authorities said they found a tweet attributed to him that read, “I wanna go burn s–t n get hit with tear gas.”
Authorities also used a recording found from a dashboard camera during a search of his residence as evidence, in which Espriu was recorded in June telling a woman he shaved his facial hair after seeing surveillance video from the fire on local news.
Espriu explained in the recording how the Molotov cocktails were made and shared details of the incident, according to the complaint.
During the search, a green lighter that was similar to the one used to light the Molotov cocktails was found.
The incident caused limited damage to the office, according to U.S. News and World Report.
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