Utah Man Charged in University Arson Fire

San Jose Mercury News/July 26, 2004
By Mark Thiessen

Salt Lake City -- A Utah man who allegedly confessed to setting a fire at Brigham Young University in the name of a militant ecoterrorist group was charged Monday in federal court.

Harrison David Burrows, 18, was charged with destruction of property by fire and use of a destructive device. If convicted, he faces up to 50 years in prison.

Burrows confessed that he set fire to a considerable amount of cardboard at BYU's Ellsworth Farm on July 8, according to an affidavit filed by FBI agent Steven Fillerup.

Burrows also told Fillerup that an accomplice set fire to two garden tractors, and both wrote pro-Animal Liberation Front graffiti at the site. He also told the agent that he called a Salt Lake City television station and took responsibility for the fire in the group's name, according to the affidavit.

Authorities have not charged Burrows in other ALF-related incidents at the farm.

Burrows also took responsibility for other vandalism at BYU, which included freeing caged rabbits and birds from an on-campus farm, according to the affidavit.

The fire caused about $30,000 in damage and came three weeks after ALF's sister organization, the Earth Liberation Front, took responsibility for a $1.5 million arson fire at a lumberyard in suburban Salt Lake City.

Others are likely to be charged after the police investigation has been completed at the university farm, said assistant U.S. Attorney Rob Lunnen.

"It really doesn't make a lot of sense to attack that area," said BYU Police Chief Larry Stott. "Animals are not being hurt or mistreated there at all. It's a recycling area that really does a lot of good."

Burrows' lawyer did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.