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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Nevada

Friday, November 1, 2013

Man Sentenced To 10 Years In Prison For Arson At Las Vegas Children’s Autism Facility

       LAS VEGAS, Nev. – A Las Vegas man who attempted to destroy a local children’s autism learning facility with Molotov cocktails and gasoline, was sentenced today to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and was also ordered to pay approximately $80,000 in restitution, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada. 

            Samuel Powers, 24, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gloria M. Navarro.  Powers pleaded guilty in July to one count of arson of property affecting interstate commerce and one count of possession of unregistered firearms, specifically Molotov cocktails. 

            “This was deliberate conduct that could have resulted in serious injury or loss of life, but for the very effective sprinkler systems in the building,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “Several buildings were damaged; sophisticated planning and means were used by the defendant to carry out his acts and we are very fortunate this did not result in serious injury or fatalities. Committing arson is never an appropriate way to resolve anger and conflict.”

"Some of the most dangerous criminals ATF investigates are those who use explosive devices to commit acts of violent crime by maliciously damaging property," said Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Riehl.  "ATF will continue to target persons who put the public at risk through the illegal use of these horrific instruments of death and destruction."

            According to the plea agreement and other Court pleadings, on April 15, 2013, Powers knowingly and maliciously damaged a building which housed several commercial businesses, including Sport Social, a facility that provides services to autistic children, located at 7055 Windy Street in Las Vegas.  Powers forcibly entered Sport Social with three Molotov cocktails and a gasoline container, and poured gasoline and set multiple fires inside the business.  The fires caused at least $80,000 in damage to the structure and its contents.  Powers also possessed two additional unignited Molotov cocktails inside his vehicle at the scene of the fire, along with plastic gloves, a mask, and handwritten directions to the business.  When Powers set the fires, he knew or had cause to believe that persons were inside a neighboring business, thereby creating a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to those persons.            

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Clark County Fire Department, and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christina M. Brown.

Updated January 29, 2015