Incident Summary:

1/18/2001: Arson was set to a luxury home under construction in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale, Arizona in the United States, causing significant damage. There were no casualties in the incident, and the monetary extent of property damage is unknown. The incident was claimed by the Coalition to Save the Preserves (CSP) in opposition of building and development in the preserved mountain area. This incident was one in a series of 11 luxury home arsons in the Phoenix area between April 2000 and January 2001. In June 2001, confessed eco-terrorist Mark Warren Sands was indicted for eight of the arson incidents, pled guilty, and in 2002, was sentenced to 18 years in prison for torching seven luxury homes under construction.

GTD ID:
200101180005

When:
2001-01-18

Country:
United States

Region:
North America

Province/administrative
region/u.s. state:

Arizona

City:
Scottsdale

Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Facility/Infrastructure Attack
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Private Citizens & Property
Name of Entity private residence
Specific Description private home in Scottsdale, in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve area in AZ
Nationality of Target United States
Additional Information
Hostages No
Ransom No
Property Damage Yes
Extent of Property Damage Unknown
Value of Property Damage Unknown
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Incendiary Arson/Fire
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) Yes
Alternate Designation (more) Other Crime Type
Additional Information "Letters sent to media, homeowners and contractors, and messages on construction sites of several of the arsons claimed responsibility in the name of CSP, stating that ""God's work had to be done."" However, during the Federal Grand Jury indictment, prosecutors maintained that Sands committed the acts for his own twisted reasons and the he fabricated letters and claims from the CSP to carry out his plot. Sands still maintained that he was against development of preserved areas, but also that he ""knew how to sell it,"" ""knew what a god media story was, and ""there was a sense of power"" behind the string of incidents that the media fed on. The true motives appear to be a combination of personal reasons and to make a broader environmental message, but they remain unknown. The FBI investigation determined that Sands did in fact fabricate the CSP. The victims of the incidents were fearful or recurring arsons, and according to sources, Sands still terrorized the community to portray a broader message."
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Coalition to Save the Preserves (CSP) (suspected) Yes (Confirmed: Unknown; Mode: Other)
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 1
Number of Captured Perpetrators 1
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 0 Fatalities / 0 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 0
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 0
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
Sources
"FBI, "Terrorism 2000/2001,"FBI, DOJ, 2001."
"List of Fires in Federal Indictment," Associated Press State & Local Wire, June 15, 2001."
"Scott Thomsen, "Man accused in mountain preserve arsons pleads guilty," Associated Press State & Local Wire, November 7, 2001."