Tucson businessman arrested in 2009 chlorine-gas attack

Family on NW side targeted
2011-05-13T14:04:00Z 2011-05-13T23:53:33Z Tucson businessman arrested in 2009 chlorine-gas attackTim Steller, Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 13, 2011 2:04 pm  • 

FBI agents arrested the owner of Burns Power Washing today and accused him of launching a chemical attack against a couple who say they were his customers.

On Aug. 2, 2009, someone sealed the doors shut and ignited chlorine tablets mixed with a chemical in the front and back yards of Myles and Karen Levine’s home. The result was a chlorine gas cloud the size of a football field that caused the evacuation of homes in the Levines' gated northwest-side neighborhood.

Federal prosecutors said today that Todd Russell Fries, also known as Todd Burns, was the perpetrator. Fries is well-known for appearing in the ads for his business.

Agents arrested Fries on Friday morning at his home in the 5500 block of West El Camino del Cerro. A neighbor, Sparky Waters, said dozens of law-enforcement vehicles lined the road and the Pima County Sheriff’s bomb squad came, too.

A federal indictment, unsealed earlier Friday, charges Fries with two counts of using a chemical weapon at the Levines’ then-home in the 2800 block of West Magee Road.

After the attack in 2009, Myles Levine said the only people he knew of that the couple had a dispute with was a contractor. On Friday, Levine would not say whether Fries was that contractor, but he did acknowledge that he was a customer of Burns Power Washing.

“It feels really good that there’s been an arrest made. We’ve been living pretty much under wraps,” Levine said.

The Levines’ home also was attacked on Oct. 31, 2008, when they were living in Marana. In that attack, someone wrote anti-Semitic graffiti on their home and dead animals were left outside. In the 2009 incident, too, dead animals were left outside the Levines’ home.

At the time, the Levines said they thought the two attacks were connected, and they told Marana police they suspected the contractor. Authorities have not accused Fries of carrying out the 2008 attack.

 

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