Tacoma woman pleads guilty to arson for burning police cars in downtown Seattle
Used aerosol cans as a blowtorch to light cars on fire; Broke windows, looted stores, and smashed equipment in pattern of destruction
Seattle – A 26-year-old Tacoma, Washington, woman pleaded guilty today to arson for burning five Seattle P0lice vehicles parked in the area of Sixth and Pine in downtown Seattle on Saturday, May 30, 2020, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. Margaret Aislinn Channon was arrested June 11, 2020, following an investigation by the FBI, ATF, and Seattle Police Department. She is scheduled for sentencing by U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour on January 18, 2022.
According to the plea agreement, Channon appears in videos from the protest in downtown Seattle wearing distinctive clothing and showing tattoos on her hands and arms. Channon is captured on video using fire and aerosol cans to light five Seattle Police Department vehicles on fire. She is also shown entering various stores and removing items of clothing. She admits smashing the window at the Verizon Store, and entering a sandwich shop and destroying the electronic cash register. Investigators identified Channon based on her clothing, tattoos, and information from her various social media accounts.
Law enforcement executed a search warrant at Channon’s Tacoma residence and seized clothing and accessories that appear in some of the videos from the arsons.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Channon is responsible for restitution. The amount will be determined at sentencing.
Arson is punishable by a mandatory minimum 5 years in prison and up to 20 years in prison. Both sides have agreed to recommend 5 years in prison. The ultimate sentence is up to Judge Coughenour, who will determine the appropriate sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The case is being investigated by the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), and the Seattle Police Department.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Todd Greenberg.