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Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Arsonist Sentenced to Almost Six Years in Prison



Set Fire to a Brooklyn Park Pizza Restaurant to Cover Up a Burglary

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander sentenced Brian Keith Swope, Jr., age 33, of Brooklyn Park, Maryland late yesterday to 70 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for the arson of a pizza restaurant in Brooklyn Park.  Judge Hollander also ordered Swope to pay restitution of more than $100,000.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge William P. McMullan of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Baltimore Field Division; and Allan C. Graves, Fire Chief of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department.

According to his plea agreement, on March 22, 2013, Swope learned that the owner of Pizza City restaurant had been arrested and remained in custody.  Swope and a co-conspirator used heroin together and planned to burglarize Pizza City, where Swope had previously worked.  Shortly after midnight on May 23, 2013, Swope and the co-conspirator used a tire iron to pry open the front door of Pizza City.  They took money from the cash register and other items from the store, then used the money to purchase heroin.  After using the heroin, Swope and the co-conspirator returned to Pizza City and stole numerous items, including computers, telephones, food and sodas.  They sold some of the stolen items and purchased more drugs with the money.  At the end of the evening, Swope and the co-conspirator again returned to Pizza City and set a fire to cover up their burglary by destroying the video surveillance system and any fingerprints left behind.  After setting the fire, Swope and the co-conspirator took a taxi back to Swope’s home, taking along many of the food items stolen from Pizza City.

As a result of the investigation of the arson fire at Pizza City, on May 23, 2013, law enforcement seized the food stolen from Pizza City at Swope’s home. Swope was arrested the next day.  Federal agents subsequently obtained a copy of a letter written by Swope attempting to obstruct the investigation by encouraging a witness to tell law enforcement that they had no information about the fire and burglary at Pizza City.  The letter also advised the individual to falsely allege misconduct by law enforcement, and falsely tell law enforcement that Swope had broken into Pizza City two days before the fire.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the ATF and Anne Arundel County Fire Department, Fire Marshal Division, for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Harry M. Gruber, who prosecuted the case.

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