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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Eastern District of California

For Immediate Release

August 2, 2011

Benjamin B. Wagner, United States Attorney

Contact: Loren Horwood

Galleria Mall Arsonist Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that today U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez sentenced Alexander Piggee, 24, of Sacramento, to 15 years in prison, to be followed by six years of supervised release, for causing fires that damaged the Westfield Galleria Mall in Roseville and a Wal-Mart on Antelope Road in Sacramento County. Both fires occurred on October 21, 2010.

In sentencing Piggee, Judge Mendez stated: It was perhaps a cry for help, but it was the wrong cry for help.

According to court documents, Piggee started the first fire in the garden department of Wal-Mart, which is open 24 hours a day, at approximately 4:30 a.m. Several hours later, Piggee entered the Game Stop in the Galleria Mall and, after ordering a store employee to leave, started a fire in a storeroom in the back of the store. The fire then spread through the ceiling and duct work and ultimately destroyed a large portion of the mall. Although the Wal-Mart fire caused only minor damage, the loss from the Galleria fire is expected to be more than $55 million.

This case was a product of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and local agencies. The Galleria fire was investigated by the Roseville Fire Department and the Roseville Police Department. The Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District investigated the Wal-Mart fire. Due to the size of the Galleria fire, the ATF’s National Response Team was called in for the cause and origin investigation. The National Response Team is composed of multiple experts from around the country who have expertise in fire science and investigation. Assistant United States Attorney R. Steven Lapham prosecuted the case.