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Press Release

Chicago Man Sentenced to Eight Years for Setting Fire to Cell Phone Store

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Illinois

CHICAGO — A Chicago resident has been sentenced to eight years in federal prison for setting fire to the Boost Mobile Store located at 809 E. 79th Street in 2019.

In the early morning hours of September 10, 2019, OTHO HARRIS, 63, of Chicago broke the front door of the store, poured gasoline into the building, and set it on fire because he was upset with the store’s response to his broken cellphone.  The day before, on September 9, Harris got into a confrontation with a store employee about the broken cellphone and slammed the phone down onto the ground and exited the store after the employee said the phone could not be repaired.  Harris, who plead guilty to one count of arson in September of 2022, has a lengthy criminal history involving multiple prison sentences for other violent crimes.

On February 9, 2023, U.S. District Judge John J. Tharp, Jr., imposed the 96-month prison sentence.  The court also ordered Harris to pay $195,701 in restitution for the extensive damage the fire caused to the Boost Mobile store.

The sentence is announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Jeffery L. Matthews, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; and David Brown, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Prashant Kolluri represented the government.

Updated February 13, 2023

Violent Crime