News and Press Releases

Claimed fire was on behalf of ELF and ALF

December 16, 2005

CHRISTOPHER W. McINTOSH, 23, of Maple Shade, New Jersey was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to eight years in prison and three years of supervised release for Arson. McINTOSH was arrested in February 2005 in connection with the January 20, 2003 arson of the McDonald's restaurant at 222 5th Avenue North in Seattle. McINTOSH claimed he set the fire on behalf of two known eco-terror groups. In sentencing McINTOSH, U.S. District Judge Thomas S. Zilly said he encourages environmental activism within the law. "Firebombing, starting fires or other acts of violence and terrorism are not the way to make change happen."

On September 26, 2005, McINTOSH pleaded guilty to setting the fire at the McDonald's restaurant near the Seattle Center. The fire broke out on the roof of the restaurant at about 1:50 am on January 20, 2003. A witness at the scene reported seeing a thin man, 15-22 years-old dressed in dark clothing and carrying a backpack fleeing from the roof of the restaurant. A number of items were found on the roof including a black gym bag that contained a gas can, hacksaw, sunglasses and a can of spray paint.

A few hours after the fire, McINTOSH placed an anonymous call to the Seattle Arson tip line from a public pay phone. McINTOSH claimed to have set the fire on behalf of the ELF (Earth Liberation Front) and ALF (Animal Liberation Front). In the phone call, McINTOSH also conveyed certain information about the fire scene that had not been disclosed publicly. Evidence at the scene, including fingerprints and DNA evidence, links McINTOSH to the fire. Records at a Seattle youth center indicate McINTOSH was living in the area at the time of the fire.

In asking for a lengthy sentence, Assistant United States Attorney Andrew Friedman told the court the public needs to be protected. "McIntosh is without remorse for his crime. Indeed, the Government suspects that McIntosh is proud of his crime, and, given the chance, he would do the same thing again," Friedman wrote in his sentencing memorandum.

Judge Zilly said he hopes when McINTOSH completes his eight year prison term he will have "a better handle on how to make the world a better place."

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorney Andrew C. Friedman prosecuted the case.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington, at 206-553-4110.

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