Man Pleads Guilty to Setting Fires to Raleigh Business During Riots
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of North Carolina
RALEIGH, N.C. – A Raleigh man pled guilty today to setting a fire inside a store in Raleigh after a demonstration over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Richard Rubalcava, of Raleigh was arrested on June 18, 2020, by special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) and was charged by indictment with two counts of maliciously damaging or destroying, or attempting to damage or destroy, by means of fire or an explosive, any building or other real or personal property affecting interstate or foreign commerce.
According to the indictment, on May 30, 2020, at approximately 12:13a.m., a fire was discovered at the Dollar General Express located at 149 East Davie Street, Raleigh, after it had been looted by rioters. Video surveillance was obtained from the Dollar General Express. The video shows Rubalcava enter the business and place numerous items in a Dollar General Bag. Rubalcava leaves and re-enters the business numerous times. Each time Rubalcava enters the business, he would steal items from the store. Further video surveillance captured Rubalcava inside the Dollar General Express setting fire to miscellaneous items located on an aisle endcap. Rubalcava appears to exit the store after setting the fire.
Rubalcava faces a statutory mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years, a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison, and a maximum fine of $250,000.
G. Norman Acker, III, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert B. Jones, Jr. accepted the plea. The Raleigh Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel W. Smith is prosecuting 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-00341-FL
Updated April 18, 2023