For Immediate Release
Philadelphia Woman Sentenced 2 ½ Years in Prison After Pleading Guilty in Connection With Arson of Two Police Cars During 2020 Protests
PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Lore Elisabeth Blumenthal, 35, of Philadelphia, PA, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison (30 months), two years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay more than $95,000 restitution by United States District Court Judge R. Barclay Surrick in connection with the arson of two Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) vehicles during the Spring 2020 civil unrest in Philadelphia.
In June 2020, the defendant was charged by criminal complaint following investigations into multiple arsons of law enforcement vehicles during the protests that occurred in response to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN. The charges stemmed from incidents which occurred on May 30, 2020, during which Blumenthal set fire to two PPD vehicles that were parked on the north side of Philadelphia City Hall. In March 2022, the defendant pleaded guilty to two counts of obstructing, impeding and interfering with law enforcement officers engaged in the lawful performance of their official duties during the commission of a civil disorder.
“Now that several of those arrested in Philadelphia in connection with arsons during the 2020 racial justice protests have been sentenced in federal court, it is important to reflect on the gravity of what happened in our city and across the country,” said U.S. Attorney Romero. “We witnessed a movement that spurred thousands of people to take to the streets to peacefully protest unequal treatment under the law, but some saw it as an opportunity to commit violent, destructive crimes that endangered the lives of many, and ultimately robbed taxpayer-funded resources from the mission of protecting the public. That is unacceptable, and our Office will continue to work to ensure that all Americans can safely and freely exercise their First Amendment rights, while holding accountable those who would hijack peaceful protests for their own violent and selfish ends.”
“Today’s sentencing sends a clear message—when you are intent on conducting a violent act that breaks federal law, ATF and our law enforcement partners will make sure you are held accountable,” said Matthew Varisco, Special Agent in charge of ATF’s Philadelphia Field Division. “This type of violent behavior puts our entire community in danger, so the outcome of this investigation is a small victory for all citizens of the Commonwealth.”
“Peacefully protesting is protected activity. Purposeful arson and destruction of property — those are crimes,” said Jacqueline Maguire, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “The actions of Lore Elisabeth Blumenthal and others who similarly crossed the line endangered law enforcement and countless bystanders alike, and proved a huge distraction from the message carried by protesters seeking social justice. There are productive ways to express your anger and desire for change, but violence will never be one of them.”
“Investigative successes like this are a testament to the interagency cooperation being practiced by partnering agencies united in the common goal of ensuring our national security and keeping our communities safe,” said William S. Walker, Special Agent in Charge for the HSI Philadelphia Field Office. “I am exceptionally proud of how HSI Philadelphia’s Special Agents and Analysts teamed together with our federal, state and local partners in this case, utilizing technology and collaboration to bring the defendant to justice.”
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and the Philadelphia Police Department and the Philadelphia Fire Marshal’s Office, with assistance from the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, and is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.