Fort Worth Man Admits to Hulen Mall Arson
FORT WORTH, Texas — Craig Michael Tezeno, 46, of Fort Worth, Texas, pleaded guilty yesterday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey L. Cureton to one count of arson, announced U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox of the Northern District of Texas.
Tezeno faces up to twenty years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine, and will remain in custody pending sentencing.
According to court documents filed in the case, on May 11, 2018, Tezeno entered the Dillard’s Department store in the Hulen Mall in Fort Worth, Texas with a glass bottle filled with gasoline and a rag. This device is commonly known as a Molotov Cocktail. While in the store, Tezeno lit the rag and placed the Molotov Cocktail on the floor. Shortly thereafter, Tezeno entered the Sears Department store and lit a second Molotov Cocktail. Tezeno placed both of these devices in the stores hoping to start a fire and cause damage to the store and its property.
On May 18, 2018, Tezeno returned to the Hulen Mall in Fort Worth, Texas and re-entered the Sears store. While in the store, Tezeno lit a third Molotov Cocktail and placed it on the floor.
“This guilty plea marks the culmination of several weeks of hard work, dedication, and cooperation between federal, state, and local authorities,” said U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox. “Through their efforts, we were able to identify and bring to justice an arsonist who put the safety of the people of the Northern District of Texas at risk.”
“This investigation is a great example of federal, state and local agencies working together to stop a clear and present threat to our communities,” said FBI Dallas Special Agent-in-Charge, Eric K. Jackson. “With the help of the United States Attorney’s Office, we are holding this subject accountable for his actions that occurred at the Hulen Mall.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Fort Worth Police Department investigated the case with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Fort Worth Fire Department’s Arson Investigations Unit, Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office and FBI Task Force Officers from the Tarrant County Sherriff’s Office, the Arlington Police Department, the Naval Criminal Investigation Service, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jay Weimer.
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