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Press Release

Fayetteville Man Sentenced for Arson

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. – David Daniel Thomas was sentenced today to 71 months in prison and 36 months of supervised release for arson.  In addition, he received 33 months on a supervised release revocation from a prior federal conviction that is to be served at the expiration of his arson sentence.  Thomas will also pay $6,000 in restitution.  On February 25, 2021, Thomas pled guilty to an indictment charging him with arson.

According to court documents and other information presented in court, Thomas, 24, was living with the victim in Fayetteville, North Carolina, in December 2019.  In the early morning hours of December 14, 2019, the defendant and the victim began arguing.  The defendant attempted to set the victim’s car on fire by inserting a rag into the fuel filler and lighting it, however, he was unsuccessful in starting a fire.  The argument resulted in the victim leaving the apartment with her son and calling law enforcement.  When the officers arrived, the victim came back to her apartment.  The officers were unable to contact the defendant, who had left the area.  The victim spoke to law enforcement and then left the apartment complex again. 

After the victim and law enforcement left, the defendant returned to the apartment.  He removed his belongings from the apartment and then started a fire in the closet of the victim’s bedroom.  The fire quickly spread throughout the apartment and destroyed all the victim’s personal belongings.  Law enforcement and fire investigators found the defendant’s belongings in a wooded area nearby and retrieved the surveillance footage of the apartment complex.  The surveillance footage showed the defendant removing his personal belongings and going in and out of the apartment right before it was engulfed in flames.

The Fayetteville Fire Department was able to contain the fire to one apartment.  Thankfully no one was injured during the fire.  The occupants of the surrounding apartments were notified by other residents of the apartment complex and were able to get out of their homes safely.

The Fayetteville Fire Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated the fire.  They determined the fire was intentionally set and originated in the closet of the master bedroom.

Thomas was arrested two days later and confessed to trying to set the victim’s car on fire.  He initially denied setting the apartment fire but ultimately admitted to lighting a pair of the victim’s jeans on fire and said the fire got out of control.

At the time of the arson, Thomas was on supervised release for a prior federal conviction for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, 280 grams or more of cocaine base and a quantity of marijuana.  Thomas’ supervised release was revoked for the new criminal conduct.

G. Norman Acker, III, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge James C. Dever III. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Fayetteville Fire Department investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Charity Wilson  prosecuted the case.

Related court documents and information can be found on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 5:20-CR-374.

Updated May 19, 2021

Violent Crime