Former Payette Man Sentenced to 37 Years for Conspiracy,
Arson and Theft
Defendants Used Molotov Cocktails to Destroy Government Vehicles and
Building in Payette, Idaho
BOISE – Donovan James Bolen, 23, of Fruitland, Idaho, was sentenced today in United States District Court in Boise to 444 months in prison for carrying and using explosive devises 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, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill also ordered Bolen to serve five years of supervised release and pay $162,124.87 in restitution to the victims, Western Core Door, Inc. and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
A federal jury convicted Bolen on October 16, 2012. During the five day trial, the jury heard evidence that on May 27, 2011, Bolen and co-defendant David Joseph Vonbargen schemed to set fires in Payette, Idaho, to divert law enforcement while they broke into the World’s Largest Pawn Shop and stole firearms. The jury found Bolen 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, and then burglarized and stole 12 firearms, including rifles, revolvers, and pistols, from the World’s Largest Pawnshop in Fruitland. The fire at Western Core Door, Inc., took firefighters approximately 16 hours to get under control. The firefighters were able to contain the fire and prevent it from destroying nearby residences, whose siding melted from the heat of the fire.
Judge Winmill found that Bolen attempted to obstruct justice after his arrest, by attempting to get a witness to lie to the police about his involvement, and by convincing his girlfriend to destroy evidence of his involvement. Bolen has previously been convicted of 14 crimes, with his first arrest at age six and first criminal conviction at age ten.
Vonbargen, 50, of Fruitland, is scheduled for a competency hearing before Judge Winmill on March 25, 2013, at the federal courthouse in Boise. No trial date has been set.
“Mr. Bolen’s conduct merited a lengthy sentence,” said Olson. “His 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. Such conduct will not be tolerated. I applaud the cooperative efforts of state, local and federal law enforcement agencies in this case.”
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.