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Bond Sentenced to 87 Months in Federal Prison After Starting Fires at Two Utah Businesses

U.S. Attorney’s Office October 13, 2011
  • District of Utah (801) 524-5682

SALT LAKE CITY—Walter Edmund Bond, age 35, of Salt Lake City, who pleaded guilty in July to two counts of arson in connection with fires at the Tandy Leather Factory in Salt Lake City and the Tiburon Fine Dining Restaurant in Sandy in 2010, will serve 87 months in federal prison.

Chief U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart imposed the sentence this afternoon in U.S. District Court. Judge Stewart also ordered Bond to serve 36 months of supervised release when he finishes his federal prison sentence. Bond must have no association with members of the Animal Liberation Front during the period of supervised release. Bond also must pay $10,000 in restitution for the fire at the Tandy Leather Factory. The restitution amount for the Tiburon restaurant fire will be set later.

Federal prosecutors filed a sentencing memorandum in the case asking Judge Stewart to sentence Bond above the sentencing guideline range calculated in the case. They also asked Judge Stewart to order Bond to serve the sentence for his Utah crimes consecutive to a sentence he is currently serving for a conviction in the District of Colorado.

“Five known fires have been set ablaze in the name of whatever may be the defendant’s cause du jour. Moreover, the defendant continues to maintain his unapologetic attitude, and boasts of his commitment to activism by criminal acts,” Assistant U.S. Attorney John Huber said in the sentencing memorandum. Huber told the court that Bond is a serial arsonist searching for causes to serve as a justification for setting fires.

The 87-month sentence imposed by Judge Stewart is at the high end of the sentencing guidelines for Bond. Judge Stewart also ordered Bond to serve the 87-month sentence consecutive to the federal prison sentence he is serving for a case in Colorado. Bond is serving a 60-month federal prison sentence following convictions for the use of fire or explosives to damage and destroy property in interstate commerce and the use of force, violence, and threats involving an animal enterprise in Colorado. The case involved an April 30, 2010, fire at the Sheepskin Factory in Glendale, Colorado.

“The defendant intentionally set fires to the Tandy Leather Factory and the Tiburon Fine Dining Restaurant in an effort to intimidate and destroy these businesses and further his own political agenda,” said U.S. Attorney David B. Barlow. “Such acts of violence are a wholly unacceptable means of affecting change and this office will vigorously prosecute those who carry out such acts.”

As a part of a plea agreement reached with federal prosecutors, Bond admitted that he intended to start the fires at the businesses. He also admitted that he intended to damage or destroy the buildings and interfere with the business operations.

Bond was charged in an indictment returned in September 2010 with two counts of arson and two counts of force, violence, and threats involving animal enterprises in connection with the two fires. The Tandy Leather Factory fire was set in the early morning hours of June 5, 2010. The fire at Tiburon Fine Dining Restaurant in Sandy was set on July 2, 2010. Federal prosecutors dismissed the threats to animal enterprises counts today.

Agents and officers of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, the ATF, and Salt Lake City and Sandy Police Departments participated in the investigation of the case.

“The FBI is pleased with the prison sentence Mr. Bond has received. There are many legal avenues available for individuals to deliver their message to the public. During the federal investigation it became clear Mr. Bond chose to share his views using a different route. As a result of his illegal activity he will now face the consequences of his actions,” said David J. Johnson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Salt Lake City.

“This investigation was a collaborative interagency effort and we are gratified with the successful prosecution and conviction,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Marvin Richardson. “Arson related crime remains one of ATF’s highest investigative priorities and we will aggressively pursue arsonists and those who choose to commit this cowardly act of violence.”

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