Incident Summary:

06/12/2001: Members of the group Coalition to Save the Preserves (CSP) are suspected in the $2 million arson of four luxury homes being constructed in the 300-lot, 436-acre upscale Pima Canyon Estates development in Catalina Foothills, outside of Tucson, Arizona in the United States. There were no casualties in the incident. The letters "CSP," the initials of the aforementioned group, were spray painted in red on a wall of one of the homes, but the incident was never officially claimed. A few days later, investigators found an ignition device they believe was used to start the fires. As of June 2002, the case was still cold, and authorities made no arrests and had no suspects.



United States

North America

region/u.s. state:


Pima County Estates

Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Facility/Infrastructure Attack
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Business
Name of Entity Pima Canyon Estates
Specific Description four private luxury homes under construction in Pima Canyon Estates, outside Tucson, AZ
Nationality of Target United States
Additional Information
Hostages No
Ransom No
Property Damage Yes
Extent of Property Damage Major (likely > $1 million but < $1 billion)
Value of Property Damage $2,000,000.00
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Incendiary Arson/Fire
Weapon Details
ignition device
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) No
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: Note left at scene)
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators Unknown
Number of Captured Perpetrators Unknown
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
"Trail cold in Catalina Foothills arsons," Associated Press State & Local Wire, June 12, 2002.
"Ignition device found in one of four Tucson arsons," Associated Press State & Local Wire, June 17, 2001.
Ecoterrorism: Radical Group Linked to Arizona Fires," Greenwire, June 13, 2001.