Incident Summary:

08/22/2003: The Earth Liberation Front (ELF) was responsible for starting fires at the Clippinger Chevrolet dealership in West Covina, California, U.S.A. which caused over $1 million in damage. The vehicles damaged, mostly Hummers, were parked at the dealership. Authorities found slogans spray painted on other vehicles at the site of the attack reading, "Fat, Lazy Americans" and "ELF" among others. Police arrested and then later released Joshua Thomas Connole who they suspected was involved with the attack but could not come up with enough evidence to support their belief. On 19 November 2004, Billy Cottrell, a suspected member of ELF and co-conspirer or this attack was charged with federal arson charges and faced up to thirty years in prison, the most allowed for this crime.



United States

North America

region/u.s. state:


West Covina

Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Facility/Infrastructure Attack
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Business
Name of Entity Clippinger Chevrolet
Specific Description The Clippinger Chevrolet dealership in West Covina, California
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 $1,000,000.00
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Incendiary Arson/Fire
Melee Blunt Object
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 In March 2004, a grand jury indicted Cottrell on nine counts of arson and conspiracy in the arson and vandalism of 125 sport utility vehicles San Gabriel Valley homes and car dealerships (Greenwire , April 20).
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Earth Liberation Front (ELF) Yes (Confirmed: Unknown; Mode: E-mail)
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators Unknown
Number of Captured Perpetrators 2
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
Nada El Sawy, "SUVs burned as four California dealerships vandalized," The Associated Press, August 23, 2003.
Tasha Eichenseher, "ECOTERRORISM: Senate EPW panel to examine Earth Liberation Front," Environment and Energy Daily, May 16, 2005.