For Immediate Release
ATF Provides Case Update, Continues to Seek Public’s Help
ST. PAUL, Minn. — After a month since the Twin Cities unrest, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, in coordination with its many partners, is providing a case update and continues to seek the public’s assistance in identifying individuals who were involved in setting fires throughout the Twin Cities.
Since the beginning of June, ATF and its local, state and federal partners have investigated more than 150 fire scenes and have made a number of federal arrests. To date, 13 people have been arrested on arson-related charges. Six of the 13 arrests can be attributed to assistance from the public as ATF has sought help to identify individuals.
“We want to thank the public for their outstanding assistance in identifying many of these individuals,” said Special Agent in Charge William Henderson, of the ATF St. Paul Field Division. “We continue to make progress on these arson investigations and highly encourage anyone who participated in the arsons in St. Paul or Minneapolis to come forward.”
Prior to today’s release, ATF shared images of 36 people whose identities were needed to further investigations. From those images, 21 people were identified. Four of those individuals were identified as juveniles. Six of those individuals have been arrested. Included in this release is an updated list of individuals still sought by law enforcement in relation to arson investigations, to include five new persons of interest (images below).
In total, ATF has offered nearly $100,000 in rewards to further these arson investigations. The largest reward, for up to $20,000, was offered for information related to a couple who fled Minnesota after they were identified as persons of interest related to several St. Paul arsons. They are now considered fugitives and the U.S. Marshals have adopted apprehension responsibilities.
ATF offered $5,000 rewards in relation to 15 different suspects. Some rewards are in the process of being paid out, based on the value of the tips provided and the speed of those particular investigations.
ARRESTS MADE TO DATE
The first person arrested on arson-related charges after the period of unrest was Matthew Lee Rupert, arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigations June 1 and charged with arson and riot. Nine days later, he was formally indicted on arson charges. Rupert is connected to the Office Depot and Sprint store arsons.
The following day after Rupert’s arrest, two more people were charged. Garrett Patrick Ziegler and Fornandous Cortez Henderson, also arrested June 1, were charged with throwing Molotov cocktails into a Dakota County government building.
A few days later, a man was charged with aiding and abetting arson at the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct. Branden Michael Wolfe made his initial appearance June 9. At the time of his arrest, Wolfe was wearing multiple items stolen from the Third Precinct. Two others arrested in connection with the Third Precinct include Dylan Shakespeare Robinson, arrested June 14 and charged with aiding and abetting, and Bryce Michael Williams, arrested June 16 and charged with conspiracy to commit arson.
Three individuals made their initial appearances June 9 and 10 in connection with a fire at a St. Paul health and nutrition store. Samuel Elliott Frey, Bailey Marie Baldus, and Mckenzy Ann Degidio Dunn were all charged with conspiracy to commit arson.
A sister and brother were charged with conspiracy to commit arson at a St. Paul car rental agency. Jessica Lynn White was arrested June 16, and her brother, Matthew Scott White was arrested Monday, June 29. Charging documents for the two conspirators note that Jessica also conspired with her juvenile son.
Montez Terrill Lee was arrested June 15 and charged with arson of a Minneapolis pawn shop.
The most recent arrest occurred Monday evening. Mohamed Hussein Abdi was arrested and charged with crimes of arson at the Gordon Parks High School in St. Paul.
IDENTITIES AND INFORMATION SOUGHT
Investigators continue to seek assistance from the public to help identify individuals who could advance arson investigations at a number of locations throughout the Twin Cities. In addition to persons of interest who continue to be sought, ATF is including images of five new people who are also sought to be identified. (See below for all images)
“We have methodically worked each of the fire scenes, collecting evidence, interviewing witnesses, and reviewing video footage to help us solve these arson cases,” said Henderson. “We’ve narrowed in on particular individuals who we suspect started one or more fires throughout the Twin Cities. We would appreciate any assistance the public is willing to provide in order to bring these investigations to a successful conclusion.”
Anyone with information on the identification and/or whereabouts of any of these individuals is asked to contact ATF. The preferred method for reporting information is by emailing ATFTips@atf.gov or submitting information via www.ReportIt.com or the Report It mobile app, available on Google Play or Apple Apps Store. When using Report It, select “ATF – St. Paul Field Division” as the reporting agency. Tipsters can also call 1-888-ATF-TIPS (888-283-8477) if internet access is unavailable.
Those providing tip information should include the ATF ID number of the individual and as much information as available relating to their whereabouts. Information can be submitted anonymously, but if a reward is sought, include contact information with the tip. Information eligible for reward must lead to the successful identification, arrest and conviction of the individual.
In addition to identifying persons of interest, investigators are still looking to the public for photos or videos from the nights of unrest in the Twin Cities. They are specifically looking for photos or videos of people starting fires or adding additional material or accelerants to any of the business property fires in the Twin Cities.
ATF is working closely with the FBI to investigate crimes related to the recent unrest. It is not necessary to resubmit imagery to ATF that has previously been submitted to the FBI. Going forward, however, any video or photos the public is willing to share specifically related to business fires in the Twin Cities should be sent to ATF via the Report It platform.
The FBI continues to seek the public’s help in gathering information regarding violations of federal law related to the recent unrest in the Twin Cities. The FBI is looking for people who may have incited or promoted violence of any kind and asks for cooperation from all witnesses who believe they have relevant digital material or tips by calling 1-800-CALLFBI (800-225-5324) or providing still pictures or videos at: fbi.gov/violence.
ATF is working with the Minneapolis Police Department, Minneapolis Fire Department, St. Paul Police Department, St. Paul Fire Department, Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, Minnesota State Fire Marshal Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Marshal Service and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota.
ATF is the federal agency with jurisdiction for investigating fires and crimes of arson. For more information about ATF, go to www.atf.gov or follow @ATFHQ on Twitter. Follow @ATFStPaul on Twitter for ATF news in Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota and Wisconsin.
Pictures and additional information below.