A Tucson businessman who launched a chemical attack on former customers was sentenced Friday to more than 12 years in prison.
Todd Russell Fries, 49, who also went by the name Todd Burns, was convicted in U.S. District Court in October of unlawful possession and use of a chemical weapon and providing false information to the FBI. The jury in the three-week trial deliberated for just 10 minutes before finding Fries guilty.
The case stemmed from a series of incidents in 2008 and 2009. A Tucson couple hired Fries, owner of Burns Power Washing, to perform work on their driveway. Dissatisfied with the job, the couple canceled their final payment of $200.
After the couple canceled their check, their home was vandalized.
In late 2008, "the victims woke up to find that motor oil, paint, grease, feces, dead animals and foam packing peanuts had been strewn on the driveway leading up to the front door of their home. The home and driveway had been painted with graffiti, which included swastikas and slurs. The garage door was sealed shut with an adhesive," a statement from the United States Attorney's Office said.
As a result of that first attack, the couple moved to a gated community. But nine months later, their new home was vandalized. The doors, windows and garage door were sealed shut from the outside and buckets of chlorine tablets were mixed with chemicals and ignited in their front and back yards, resulting in gas cloud the size of a football field that caused the evacuation of homes in the northwest-side neighborhood. In addition, investigators found vandalism similar to that of the first incident.
Fries also was connected to three other acts of vandalism, in 2008, 2010 and 2011.
When FBI agents searched his home following his 2011 arrest, they found 37 firearms, explosives, a large sum of cash, books on revenge and recipes for making explosives.
Contact reporter Kimberly Matas at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 573-4191.