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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Eastern District of Louisiana

For Immediate Release

April 11, 2013

Dana J. Boente, United States Attorney

CONTACT: Anna Christman
PHONE: (504) 680-3171
FAX: (504) 589-4978

Orleans Parish Man Sentenced for Double Arson

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA — LENNIE BROWN, age 23, a resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, was sentenced yesterday to 60 months of incarceration by United States District Court Judge Susie Morgan for two arsons that were committed in Gentilly in 2010, announced U. S. Attorney Dana J. Boente.

BROWN had previously pleaded guilty to two arson counts, one count of conspiracy to commit arson, conspiracy to use a destructive device, possession of a destructive device, and manufacturing a destructive device on May 11, 2011.

The Fuel Zone gas station/convenience store was the victim of two separate acts of arson in June of 2010. According to court documents, Larry Moses offered BROWN $1,500.00 cash to maliciously start a fire inside the store. On the evening of June 5, 2010, Moses and BROWN purchased a plastic squeeze bottle and filled it with gasoline. Moses and BROWN then drove their vehicle to a parking lot adjacent to the Fuel Zone. Before entering the Fuel Zone store, BROWN called Moses’ cell phone so that Moses, who remained in the getaway vehicle, could hear what was happening while BROWN was inside the store. Surveillance video showed BROWN, wearing a motorcycle helmet to disguise his identity, entered the store and proceeded to spray gasoline onto contents of shelves down one of the store aisles. BROWN started the fire using a lighter and exited the store as the fire erupted. BROWN ran back to the getaway vehicle and Moses quickly drove away from the scene.

In the days following the June 5th arson, Moses informed BROWN that he would not be paid until he committed a second more destructive fire at the Fuel Zone store but increased his offer to $3,000.00. BROWN then hired Michael Collins to assist him in a second act of arson. Moses instructed BROWN that for this second arson, the fire should be started near the store’s cash register area.

Shortly after 1:00 a.m. on June 22, 2010, BROWN and Collins constructed three Molotov Cocktails, a destructive device, and drove to a parking lot adjoining from the Fuel Zone. Collins entered the Fuel Zone store, lit and tossed the three Molotov Cocktails behind the cash register area. The store clerk, armed with a pistol, fired a shot at Collins, hitting him in the leg. Collins called BROWN to inform him that he had been shot. BROWN, who drove away from the scene leaving Collins behind, called Moses to inform him of what had happened. Ultimately, Collins was driven to University Hospital for his bullet wound. While at the hospital, Collins confessed to ATF agents that he had been shot while committing an arson at the Fuel Zone convenience store. Through Collins’ statements, ATF agents were able to arrest BROWN, who in turn confessed as to Moses’ involvement in both crimes.

The Fuel Zone gas station suffered extensive fire damage during the second arson and had to be completely shut down for more than one month.

Larry Moses pled guilty on February 26th and sentencing is scheduled for May 22, 2013 before U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan.

This case was investigated by the New Orleans Fire Department along with Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Rick Veters and Edward Rivera of the Violent Crime Unit.