Fruitland Man Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison for Conspiracy, Arson and Theft of Firearms
VonBargen Convicted of Destroying Government Vehicles and a Building in Payette, Idaho
BOISE – U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced today that David Joseph VonBargen, 50, of Fruitland, Idaho, was sentenced today in United States District Court to 420 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. VonBargen was convicted by a federal jury in April 2013 of carrying and using firearms – Molotov cocktails – during and in relation to a federal crime of violence, conspiracy to maliciously use explosive materials, conspiracy to maliciously damage federal property, and theft of firearms. Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill also ordered VonBargen to pay $162,124.87 in restitution to Western Core Door, Inc. and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
During the five-day trial, the jury heard evidence that on May 27, 2011, VonBargen and his co-defendant, Donovan James Bolen, schemed to set fires in Payette to divert law enforcement while they broke into the World’s Largest Pawn Shop, in Fruitland, and stole firearms. The jury found VonBargen guilty of using Molotov cocktails to set fire to two U.S. Department of Agriculture vehicles and a lumber warehouse belonging to Western Core Door, Inc., in Payette. The jury also found VonBargen guilty of burglarizing and stealing 12 firearms, including rifles, revolvers, and pistols, from the World’s Largest Pawnshop.
Donovan Bolen, 23, also of Fruitland, was sentenced on February 5, 2013, to 444 months – 37 years – in federal prison and ordered to pay $162,124.87 in restitution to Western Core Door, Inc. and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. On October 16, 2012, Bolen was convicted by a federal jury of carrying and using firearms during and in relation to a federal crime of violence, conspiracy to maliciously use explosive materials, conspiracy to maliciously damage federal property, and theft of firearms.
“Mr. VonBargen’s use of Molotov cocktails to divert the attention of law enforcement was unconscionable, endangered the lives of first responders, and destroyed the property of innocent victims,” said Olson. “I commend the swift law enforcement response that brought both of the defendants in this case to justice. Mr. VonBargen now, like his co-defendant, faces a well-deserved lengthy prison sentence.”
The case was investigated by the Fruitland Police Department, the Payette Police Department, the Payette County Sheriff's Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the Idaho State Fire Marshal.
Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is a collaborative effort by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and communities to prevent and deter gun violence.