States Attorney's Office District of Connecticut
|June 11, 2010||
TWO MEN ARRESTED IN NEW HAVEN ARSON CONSPIRACY
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that two New Haven men were arrested today on a federal indictment charging them with conspiring to commit, and committing, the July 30, 2009 arson of the People’s Laundromat, located at 83 Lombard Street, in the Fair Haven section of New Haven.
Charged in the indictment are OSVALDO SEGUI, 48, and his son, OSVALDO SEGUI, JR., 21, both of Maltby Street, New Haven.
U.S. Attorney Fein stated: “Arson is a crime of violence that creates a serious risk of injury not only to responding personnel but also to people in the community at large. This office will vigorously investigate and prosecute those who choose to deliberately set fire to businesses, homes or other property, whether for financial gain, insurance fraud or otherwise.”
Kim Mertz, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation stated: “Arson is a serious crime that not only endangers members of our community but also those first responders whose duty it is to protect our citizens and property. This ten month investigation demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to combat crime perpetrated by individuals who commit arson and is a perfect example of how cooperation between federal, state and local law enforcement can be used to solve such crimes. The FBI is proud of this cooperative effort and will continue to work diligently with our law enforcement partners to protect New Haven and other communities.”
New Haven Fire Chief Michael Grant stated “the ongoing investigation has made a significant impact on the number of suspicious fires in the Fair Haven area. This investigation proves the importance of various agencies working together to come to a positive conclusion and that being an arrest of two suspects today. This operation has made for a safer environment for the citizens of New Haven and has increased the safety of all the Firefighters in the City of New Haven. I would like to commend the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Connecticut State Police, New Haven Police and the New Haven Fire Department for their outstanding work.”
The indictment alleges that, on July 30, 2009, there was a fire at the People’s Laundromat located at 83 Lombard Street in the Fair Haven section of New Haven. After the fire had been extinguished, responding personnel located three gasoline cans inside the People’s Laundromat. Upon further investigation, a canine also alerted to the presence of accelerants inside the People’s Laundromat. Chemical analysis performed at the State of Connecticut Forensic Lab on samples taken from the laundromat also revealed the presence of a petroleum product consistent with gasoline. Fire department investigators ultimately determined that the fire was an arson.
The indictment alleges that the defendants OSVALDO SEGUI, OSVALDO SEGUI, JR. and another individual known to the Grand Jury but not named in the indictment, devised a plan to set fire to the People’s Laundromat. The indictment states that it was part of the conspiracy that OSVALDO SEGUI, JR. would set fire to the People’s Laundromat, while his father, OSVALDO SEGUI would perform the role of a lookout. OSVALDO SEGUI and OSVALDO SEGUI, JR. expected to be paid or receive other benefits for their participation in the arson.
The indictment further alleges that in mid to late July 2009, OSVALDO SEGUI first offered participation in the People’s Laundromat arson to another individual, who declined to participate. The plan moved forward with OSVALDO SEGUI, JR. Prior to the fire, OSVALDO SEGUI, JR. attempted to obtain used gasoline cans from a convenience store that he frequented in New Haven, and OSVALDO SEGUI drove a vehicle to the People’s Laundromat and carried gasoline cans into the laundromat. On July 30, 2009, on several occasions immediately before the fire began, OSVALDO SEGUI repeatedly drove his vehicle around the block where the People’s Laundromat was located. Also on July 30, OSVALDO SEGUI, JR caused an accelerant located in the People’s Laundromat to ignite, which resulted in a fire in the building.
The indictment further alleges that the same night as the fire, OSVALDO SEGUI, JR, went to the Yale New Haven Hospital Emergency Room to be treated for severe burns to at least one of his legs.
The indictment also alleges that, from the date of the fire to the present, OSVALDO SEGUI, JR., in an effort to conceal his participation in the arson of the People’s Laundromat, falsely claimed that he sustained his burn injuries while performing work on a car that had caught fire.
The indictment further alleges that on or about August 5, 2009, in an effort to avoid law enforcement authorities, OSVALDO SEGUI, JR., fled Connecticut and temporarily relocated to Florida, flying to Florida using a ticket he had persuaded a third party to purchase online on his behalf, for which he paid the third party in cash. Prior to leaving, OSVALDO SEGUI, JR., stated that he had set the laundromat on fire and needed to go away until things cooled down with the investigation.
The indictment further alleges that in October 2009, OSVALDO SEGUI, JR., refused to comply with a federal court order allowing officers to photograph OSVALDO SEGUI, JR.’s legs for evidence of burns.
The indictment also indicates that as a result of responding to the fire at 83 Lombard Street on July 30, 2009, a New Haven firefighter sustained injuries that rendered him temporarily disabled and unable to return to work without limitations until November 2009.
If convicted of the charges, both defendants would be subject to a mandatory minimum prison term of seven years and a maximum of 40 years in prison.
U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that an indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Each defendant is entitled to a fair trial at which it is the Government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
U.S. Attorney Fein commended the substantial efforts and cooperation of the several agencies involved in this investigation including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Connecticut State Police, the New Haven Police Department, and the New Haven Fire Department.
U.S. Attorney Fein, SAC Mertz and New Haven Fire Chief Grant stated that the investigation is ongoing and encouraged anyone with information that may be relevant to the investigation to call the FBI in Connecticut at 203-777-6311.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Stephen B. Reynolds and Raymond F. Miller.
U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
Department of Justice
Project Safe Neighborhoods