Arrest made in Forest Place apartment fire | Arkansas Blog

Monday, February 10, 2014

Arrest made in Forest Place apartment fire

Posted By on Mon, Feb 10, 2014 at 4:37 PM

SUSPECT IN CUSTODY: A suspect has been arrested in relation to a series of arsons at the Forest Heights apartments. One was May 16, shown here. - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • SUSPECT IN CUSTODY: A suspect has been arrested in relation to a series of arsons at the Forest Heights apartments. One was May 16, shown here.

click to enlarge IN CUSTODY: Lacy Rae Moore
  • IN CUSTODY: Lacy Rae Moore
After weeks of rumors that action was expected soon, an arrest has been made of a suspect in the string of arsons that did millions in damage to the Forest Place apartments on University Avenue.

The suspect, Lacey Rae Moore, 43, was taken into custody the afternoon to be held at the Pulaski jail for U.S. marshals.

The U.S. attorney's office late today released an eight-count indictment charging Moore in  fires at the complex. Specifically she was charged with attempting to destroy the project with explosive materials. She was charged with five counts of arson, two counts of arson that caused injuries to firefighters and possession of an explosive device.


Residents of the apartment complex, who included our photographer, Brian Chilson, believe the suspect made comments on social media pages about the fires at the time they occurred. She lamented the fire and wrote at one point of joining a class action lawsuit  by tenants over fire protection measures at the complex. At one point, she said nobody was ever likely to be arrested in the case unless someone had seen the arsonist in action.

The city demanded additional safety measures be installed after the eighth fire in a year.

A release from the U.S. attorney sets out the extent of damage, in the millions to the apartment, but provided no insight to what led to Moore's arrest as a result of an interagency effort.:

click to enlarge FACEBOOK CHATTER: A post from someone named Lacey Rae Lipe Moore on Facebook's Forbidden Hillcrest page, one of many relating to Forest Place fires.
  • FACEBOOK CHATTER: A post from someone named Lacey Rae Lipe Moore on Facebook's Forbidden Hillcrest page, one of many relating to Forest Place fires.


U.S. ATTORNEY RELEASE

Christopher R. Thyer, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas; and Grover Crossland, Resident Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) – Little Rock Field Office; announced that Lacey Rae Moore, age 43, of Little Rock, was arrested and appeared today in federal court on an Indictment handed down by a federal grand jury on Thursday, February 6, 2014. The Indictment, unsealed after her arrest, charges Moore with five counts of arson, two counts of arson resulting in injury and one count of possession of an unregistered destructive device.

“Today’s arrest of this arsonist is the result of excellent investigative work by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agents, Little Rock Fire Department Fire Marshal’s Office, Arkansas State Police Fire Marshal’s Office and Little Rock Police Department,” stated Thyer. “Through their diligence and expertise the mystery that caused millions of dollars’ worth of damage, destroyed apartment buildings, displaced scores of residents and injured two firefighters, has been solved.”

The Indictment alleges that Moore attempted to maliciously damage and destroy the Forest Place Apartments by use of fire and explosive materials. The fires were set on or about February 24, February 25, 2013; May 15, 2013; May 16, 2013; June 4, 2013; June 22, 2013; and June 28, 2013. As a result of the fires set May 16 and June 4, 2013, two Little Rock Firefighters were injured. The final charge alleges that on July 1, 2013, Moore knowingly possessed a destructive incendiary device and bomb that was not registered to her in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.

The largest fire occurred on May 16, 2013, which nearly destroyed the entire North Building of Forest Place Apartment and caused approximately $4,000,000 in damage. As a result of this fire more than 130 people were evacuated by fire department personnel, with approximately 400 evacuations total and numerous balcony rescues. Approximately 79 people were permanently displaced as a result of this fire.

The fire on June 28, 2013, resulted in the evacuation of approximately 75-100 people from the South Building and resulted in another 11 people being permanently displaced.

At today’s hearing before United States Magistrate Judge Beth Deere, Moore pled, “not guilty,” to the charges. A detention hearing has been set for Wednesday, February 12, 2014, at 11 a.m. before U.S. Magistrate Deere. The trial was set for March 11, 2014, before United States District Judge Billy Roy Wilson.

Moore faces at least five years up to 20 years’ incarceration with not more than three years’ supervised release for each arson charge. The arson charges with injury have a statutory sentence of not less than seven years’, not more than 40 years’ incarceration with not more than 5years of supervised release. Possession of a destructive device carries a possible sentence of not more than 10 years in prison, with not more than three years of supervised release. Each count of the indictment also carries a possible fine of not more than $250,000.

The investigation was conducted by a special task force headed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives with substantial assistance from the Little Rock Fire Department Fire Marshal’s Office, the Arkansas State Police Department Fire Marshal’s Office, and the Little Rock Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Chris Givens.

An indictment contains only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


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